My Wonderful World

W e l c o m e... And Enjoy!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A GREAT Night for Grilling

Time to get the Weber dome grill fired up for NY Angus Strip Steaks.    I find coarse Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper is the perfect seasoning for a great steak.  

I always keep salad plates and glasses in the freezer.   They are always ready for fresh juice in the morning...or a nice frosted cocktail glasses in the afternoon.  

Our local Wine Maven suggested Chateau Fleur De Rigaud Bordeaux Superieur from France to accompany our steaks.   Spot on with that suggestion.  It is a blend of 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.   Smooth, velvety and perfect with a great price of $14 per bottle.   That looks to be something  a case or two should be added to our meager "cellar".  

My best find of the week was spinach....a full pound of precleaned baby spinach that was yearning to be made into one of my favorite dishes, Boursin Creamed Spinach. 

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Boursin Creamed Spinach

1 tablespoon unsalted butter:
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoon flour
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
5.5 ounce Boursin cheese
10 ounce spinach; thawed, squeezed dry
2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese,grated
1 teaspoon lemon zest, minced
  salt and white pepper; to taste
  cayenne and nutmeg; to taste
  Top spinach with:
2/3 cup bread crumbs; coarse
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon olive oil
  salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.  Coat shallow 2 cup baking dish with nonstick spray; set aside.

Saute onion in butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until soft.  Add flour and stir to coat onion.  Cook about 1 minute.

Gradually whisk milk and cream into onion mixture, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer sauce for 1 minute. Stir in Boursin a little at a time until melted and smooth.  Remove saucepan from heat.

Add spinach, Parmesan, lemon zest, and seasonings.  Transfer spinach mixture to prepared baking dish. Combine crumbs, butter, oil, and seasonings .  Top spinach with crumbs, packing them to adhere.

Dish may be covered and chilled at this point to be baked later.  Place dish on a baking sheet and bake until crumbs are golden and sauce is bubbly, 20 minutes or a little more.

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.86 **

Ready for the Oven

Hot and Sizzle Platter with NY Strip and Boursin Creamed Spinach

Bon Appetit and Wishing you Another Great Meal! 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's Whats for Dessert!!

For me, nothing is more satisfying than dessert.    My motto...."save your fork...there's PIE"!   This happened to turn into a quick rendition of a creme filled cream puff.   Actually, it is quite easy.  

My puff recipe is from the old, very old Betty Crocker cookbook.   

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Cream Puffs

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4  eggs
  vanilla cream pudding
  or sweetened whipped cream
  confectioner's sugar

Heat oven to 400F. Heat water and butter to rolling boil. Stir in flour.  Stir vigorously over low heat about 1 minutes or until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Beat in eggs, all at one time; continue beating until smooth. drop dough by scant 1/4 cupfuls 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.

Dough may be put in pastry bag and piped onto baking sheet.   I prefer this method. 

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool away from draft. Cut off tops. Pull out any filaments of soft dough. Carefully fill puffs with Vanilla Cream Pudding. Replace tops; dust with confectioner's sugar. Refrigerate until serving time.

Notes:  ©Betty Crocker

Yield: 12 servings

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.86 **

NOTE:   I have learned from Lucinda Scalla Quinn that you can prepare on cooking sheet and freeze.   They are ready from the freezer to fix just a few or the whole batch at once.  

From the freezer into the oven at 400F. 

After cooling, I filled with my favorite vanilla filling.  Use a boxed Jello mix for a quicker fix.    Top with Smuckers Hot Fudge Ice Cream topping and whipped cream sweetened with great. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Clever Ideas in the Kitchen

Why didn't I think of this....  

Used this idea tonight after blanching three pound of broccoli! 

Carolina Shrimp

Carolina Shrimp is still arriving here in East Tennessee.   But I am sure the demand is going to sky rocket and the availability will be few and far between.   With that in mind...I am buying as much as I can get my hands on and remember what shrimp tasted like!! might not be that bad but the shrimping industry is in perilous times.  

After peeling and deveining the shrimp, I tossed the shrimp in a quarter cup of cornstarch with two tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning.   

Salt and pepper to taste and saute until pink and opaque, about three minutes per side in a hot skillet or wok.  

After my saute, I immediately add this to my prepared salad.  Some of the precleaned, ready packaged mesculin mixes available today are invaluable when in a hurry.   Tomatoes are coming into season here and they are so good.  Also, I enjoy grated extra sharp cheddar on top of the hot shrimp.   It melts quickly and adds nice flavor.  For my salad dressing, a home crafted Remoulade Sauce adds the "zing" that this fried shrimp salad deserves.   But then again...salad dressings are a personal choice and you would use what you prefer from a simple vinaigrette or ranch dressing. 


Bon Appétit! and enjoy with a crisp Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc.    

Off to the veranda for a tasty supper treat!   

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What a Heat Wave!

What a hot summer we have already endured!!  Looks like today will be another scorcher topping out above 95F.   Yesterday's reading was 97F and my outdoor reading was 108F on the north side of the house.

Once again...what's for supper and heating up the house is out of the question.   Last week, I got the crock pot out of storage and used it on the veranda.   That really works great on a hot day.  

Opening up the refrigerator, I was looking for something "cool" and refreshing.   First thing I saw was cottage cheese....then cantaloupe...and then.....  BACON.   Time for a BLT sandwich for supper.   Tomatoes are also ripening and ready for this time of year.  I have a small convection oven that I use occasionally and this would be the perfect appliance for cooking the bacon.    Years ago, I discovered, that cooking, or actually "roasting" bacon in the oven (350F--15-18 minutes) is the perfect way to prepare bacon.   Placing the bacon on a rack keeps it out of the grease, there is NO shrinkage like frying and the bacon slices remain perfectly FLAT.   There is nothing more irritating that having a bacon slice curl up and shrink to half its original size.  

And here is supper for that hot, hot evening's meal.  

Keep cool...and they say a cooling off is coming this weekend!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Our New Residents and Friends!

We built our Koi pond a few years ago....and have never regretted the decision.  I have had my ups and downs and even had a few disappointments learning how to keep the water level consistent, clean and clear.    The moral of the twice the pump and twice the filter that you believe you need.   If these two components are inadequate, the results are immediate and frustrating.    I was fortunate that I could reuse one of the smaller pumps in a waterfall and quickly sold my too small Laguna Pressure-Flo on  

The BIG Beginning!

November, 2006

June, 2007

July, 2007

The Finished Pavilion July 4, 2010!

About three years ago, I found a beautiful basalt
rock fountain at Pope's Nursery in Maryville.   It was 
the perfect addition to the pond at Hootin' Holler!

My Latest Water Feature added this weekend


We began our pond residents with a dozen goldfish from the local pet shop.  After adding them, it was just a matter of time to see if they survived before we began adding Koi.  All was working well and our fertile little fellows began a healthy life until the scourge in the winter of 2008.   Excessive algae developed and I was advised to add a certain chemical by a so called expert that would not harm the fish.  Two weeks later, most of the fish became compost.    So I started over and to my discovery, my pump was not moving enough water per hour and that required a bigger and of course, more expensive pump. filter was too small to handle the new water flow rate.  So...back to the internet to buy a bigger Laguna Filter.  For the past year, we have experienced a healthy pond.    

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in getting some more Koi.   I said sure.....and she directed me to Pat who lives in Knoxville.   She was unable to give the required attention to her beautiful pond as in the past.   I went to meet with her and to my surprise...her Koi were well established and healthy.  Actually, the two large Koi are in excess of 24 inches and I would guess at least 8 to 10 pounds each.  They are the BIG FISH in the pond now and also accompanied six or eight of their small offspring.    In addition to our already existing fish, we now are hosting about 25 to thirty....haven't been able to count them just yet...they swim too fast! 

Thanks again Pat for the wonderful addition 
to our Paradise!

Happy Fourth! & Other Great Treats!

My favorite time of the year is when we get Paw Paw, MI blueberries!   The season is in full swing and LeDuc delivers some of the best.   We were able to pick up some locally and didn't have to travel 500 miles to pick them!    And we are seeing South Carolina peaches coming into our markets.  I love them both and made one of my old time favorite Peach Blueberry Tart.   So easy and great tasting. 

I peel and slice 2 cup peaches, wash 1 cup  berries and combine in a saucepan.   In a half cup of orange juice, I add a tablespoon of clear gel, or if you don't have that, cornstarch or arrowroot will do the same.   Mix well with 3 tablespoons of sugar or Splenda.  Add OJ mixture to the saucepan.  Bring to a boil and the mixture will thicken with a beautiful glaze on the fruit and berries.  

Along with this great dessert....beef enchiladas sounded good.    My  enchilada recipe is from The Tex-Mex website.   Great recipes that I use quite a bit.  Supper is ready for the table!

Beef Enchiladas with Black Bean Salad! 

Enjoy and Have a Happy and SAFE Fourth of July!!   

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The Fine Art of Cooking involves personal choice. Many preferences, ingredients, and procedures may not be consistent with what you know to be true. As with any recipe, you may find your personal intervention will be necessary -- © WHStoneman 2017