Archive | April, 2010

Triple Crown: Kentucky Derby Saturday!

30 Apr

Well, here we are, my favorite race fo the Triple Crown! I love horse races, and I have since I was really young.

Horse racing is a sport steeped in tradition and history. It’s a blue-blood celebration of good breeding, strength and speed. I grew up riding jumpers, and a few of the horses I rode were once race horses. It’s amazing the kind of heart these thoroughbreds have!

A lot of people give it flack, but horses love to run, and when it’s the Kentucky Derby we’re talking about, those horses are treated like kings!

I’m hosting a Derby party (small, tiny one) this Saturday. I’d love to cook something like this:

Kentucky Hot Browns

Courtesy Bobby Flay

Ingredients

♥ Egg-battered Bread, recipe follows
♥ Maple-Bourbon Roast Turkey Breast, recipe follows, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
♥ Cheese Sauce, recipe follows
♥ 1 cup grated sharp white Cheddar
♥ 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
♥ 8 (1/4-inch) thick slices ripe tomato (from 2 tomatoes), sauteed until lightly browned
♥ 8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
♥ Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Directions

Preheat broiler.

Place the egg bread on a baking sheet, place under the broiler, and heat on both sides for 20 seconds just to warm through.

Top each slice of bread with 2 to 3 slices of turkey, ladle sauce over the top, and divide the Cheddar and Parmesan over the top of each slice. Place under the broiler and cook until bubbly and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and top each slice with 2 slices tomato and 2 slices of bacon. Sprinkle each slice with parsley and serve immediately, 2 open-face sandwiches per person.

Egg-battered Bread:

♥ 4 large eggs
♥ 1/4 cup milk
♥ Salt
♥ 8 (1/2-inch thick) slices 1 day-old white bread, such as Pullman or Pain de mie
♥ 4 tablespoons butter
♥ 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt in a medium bowl. Dip each slice of bread in the mixture and let sit about 30 seconds, or until completely soaked through.
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook 4 slices of the bread at a time until golden brown on both sides. Remove and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining butter, oil, and bread.

Maple-Bourbon Roast Turkey Breast:

♥ 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
♥ 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
♥ 2 tablespoons bourbon
♥ Salt and freshly ground black pepper
♥ 1 (4 to 5-pound) turkey breast
♥ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
♥ Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Whisk together syrup, mustard, and bourbon in a small bowl and season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Set glaze aside.

Rub entire turkey breast with butter and season with salt and pepper. Place in a small roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and continue roasting until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 155 degrees F, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. During the last 15 minutes of roasting, brush the breast with the glaze. Remove from the oven, loosely tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Cheese Sauce:

♥ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
♥ 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
♥ 2 1/2 cups whole milk
♥ 3/4 cup grated sharp white Cheddar
♥ 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
♥ Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
♥ Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, bring to a boil and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and the flour has cooked out, about 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in cheese and cook until melted. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper, to taste.

But then again… I was supposed to be on a diet! But it doesn’t mean that I can’t make a slimmed down version! Egg beaters, low fat cheese, leaner meats…

It’s do-able!

Then of course you can’t forget these!

Mint Julep

Ingredients

♥ 2 cups water
♥ 2 cups white sugar
♥ 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
♥ 32 fluid ounces Kentucky bourbon
♥ 8 sprigs fresh mint leaves for garnish

Directions

Combine water, sugar and chopped mint leaves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow syrup to cool, approximately 1 hour. Pour syrup through a strainer to remove mint leaves

Fill eight cups or frozen goblets with crushed ice and pour 4 ounces of bourbon and 1/4 cup mint syrup in each. (Proportions can be adjusted depending on each person’s sweet tooth). Top each cup with a mint sprig and a straw. Trim straws to just barely protrude from the top of the cups. Serve juleps on a silver platter.
 

 

And may the best horse win!

 

Re-Living My Childhood ♥ Part 5

29 Apr
 

Copa Cabana!

 

My parents have finally made a blog for their Cabana (well, I made it, but still…) I think it’s so CUTE! You should go be friends with them now, so that they have followers. I’m trying to walk my mother through the blogging process, hopefully she learns quick!

Visit Their Blog Here

 

The Story

This is where I grew up: Fishing, swimming, wakeboarding, and of course writing! I was a lucky girl – blessed!

I wouldn’t trade anything for the memories I have from this place. I still remember it before it was ever remodeled: Horrid blue glass. Blue. Blue. Blue!!!

My favorite part is the port holes in the floor where you can see through the glass to the fish under the house. The waves at night lull you to sleep, and I love the kitchen!!

This is just the guest house, but to me it was my play house!

 

Whiskey Demi Glace` and a diet…

27 Apr

Well, fishing weekend was great! The first day was rather windy, and the motor in our bass boat stopped working while we were out on the lake, but hanging out in the cabin drinking wine and watching movies was not bad at all! Not to mention the whiskey demi glace` on steak and the cream clams with a salad…

needless to say this week is all about salad and rice cakes… maybe some edimame to splurge.

to celebrate diet week, I’m going to give you a favorite diet dinner recipe!

Citrus-Herb Game Hen

Courtesy Giada DeLaurentis

Ingredients

  • 2 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) Cornish game hens
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest, from 2 medium oranges
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, from about 3 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or currants
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions

Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Rinse the game hens and pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, shallots, orange zest, lemon zest, thyme, mint, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub 2 tablespoons of the zest mixture over the skins of the game hens. Place the remainder of the zest mixture under the skin and into the cavities of the hens. Using kitchen twine, truss the legs together. Place the hens in a shallow 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Add the chicken stock, Marsala wine, lemon juice, orange juice, and cranberries. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the leg juices run clear. Remove the game hens and set aside. Place the flour in a small saucepan. Whisk in the pan juices. Bring the juices to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Whisk in the butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

To serve, remove the kitchen twine and place the hens on 2 serving plates. Drizzle with the citrus-herb sauce.

Cook’s Note: Reserve 1/4 cup of the citrus-herb sauce for the Crouton Salad.

Crouton Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 (8-ounces) loaf rosemary bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes* see Cook’s Note
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • 3 cups packed arugula
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup Citrus-Herb Sauce, see Roasted Citrus-Herb Game Hen recipe
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the bread on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until toasted. Set aside to cool.

In a medium salad bowl, mix together the cooled croutons, arugula, and pine nuts. Add the Citrus-Herb Sauce. Toss well until all ingredients are coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

*Cook’s Note: You can also use olive bread or any plain rustic loaf in place of the rosemary bread.

Re-Living My Childhood ♥ Part 4

23 Apr

Hook, Line, and Sinker…

You may be thinking: What does this have to do with your childhood?

The truth is: Nothing, I just thought it was funny.

But I suppose I can’t say nothing, because clearly there’s something. This weekend is Opening of Fishing weekend, and as lame as that sounds…. it’s not.

The Background

When I was little, my family and I had friends that lived down the street. Every Opening of Fishing weekend they went to Alta Lake in Eastern Washington State. That year we were invited to go along, I think I was 7. This other family has two daughters and a son. The youngest daughter was Hillary, my best friend growing up:

We’re still friends 🙂

And then there was her older brother, who I always thought was cute!

He’s my husband 🙂

So, the moral of the story is that those little things you do as a kid can actually be your future! My husband and I didn’t actually start dating until after we were 21 (I had lots of boyfriends first, too!), but having that history is amazing! I have a picture on my desk of Hillary, Hubby, my brother, and I playing on the swingset together in the old neighborhood 🙂

So, here’s to the Ghetto Fabulousness that will be another camping weekend! ‘Course now-a-days the campground has a five-star restaurant and cabins with showers, but it’s still the tradition that counts, and the fact that I LOVE fishing…

At least cell phones don’t work out there, that’s rugged enough, right?

I guess I know a thing or two about romance!

Re-Living My Childhood ♥ Part 3

21 Apr

 

Well, todays “re-living’ post took me a little longer than I expected. Props to kids for knowing how to put this stuff together.

I guess at some point I knew how to put it together, too! I tried to find directions, but I guess the model is too old for it! Now they have some fancy NEW barn…

Well…

Mine is still better!

Shall we?

Playmobil Horse Barn

 Well, despite the fact that I found a half-eaten lollipop in the box (and yes, I’m quite sure it’s at least ten years old…)

 

and the fact that it took me almost and hour to figure it out, with a whole pile of leftover pieces (I’m pretty sure I’ve mixed the western barn with the english barn… but oh well.)

It still come out beautifully!

The Story:

My dad used to bring me a piece of Playmobil home every time he went to New York on business. He’d go to FAO Schwartz and I LOVED it… Based on the ten giant moving boxes I have, he went a lot!

Here are my pics!

Yes, I have an Elephant on my far. He has one ear, luckily he’s showing you his good side!

I even had the horse trailer and Jeep! Cats, pigs, baby cows…

I don’t think I’m going to get sick of this!

Sister for sale! Sister for sale! One crying and spying young sister for sale!

21 Apr

I’m really not kidding,

So who’ll start the bidding?

Do I hear the dollar?

A nickel?

A penny?

Oh, isn’t there, isn’t there, isn’t there any

One kid that will buy this old sister for sale,

This crying and spying young sister for sale?

Shel Silverstein

Sister for sale?

Well, no. I’ll sell my brother, though!

But what is for sale is my book. To celebrate the new release, Amazon has Knight Angels on sale for 28% off!

Two. Eight.

Twenty-eight.

Percent (%)

Yay!

This guy is sure excited about it!

This guy’s sure gonna put in an offer!

Knight Angels

Re-Living My Childhood ♥ Part 2

20 Apr

Kix Cereal

My dad used to wake me up everyday at five. I’d hang out with him while he shaved and then we’d have breakfast together before going back to bed and waking up for second breakfast later. I always had cereal, and though it was sometimes ‘Yucky Charms’ (I couldn’t say my ‘L’), I usually had Kix cereal.

Yum!

I love the subtle sugary flavor, and the fact that they stay crispy for a really long time. I keep thinking that Kix would make a good substitute for rice crispies in rice crispy treats… I guess I need to go get some marshmallows!

Cereal Love!