My Wonderful World

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

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy New Year

It is hard to believe that we are approaching a New Decade!!....seems like just yesterday we were standing on the rooftop of a Puerto Vallarta Hotel enjoying the 1999 Millennium celebration.  Since we can't look back with is time to forge ahead to the NEW YEAR of 2010.

My Menu for the New Year Celebration will not vary much from the past years.   Here is our enjoyment and I wish all a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year.  

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Favorite Apple Crostata

Apple Crostata

Every time I look at an apple, I think…what can I make?   Apples have always been my favorite dessert whether it be a deep dish apple pie, an apple cake with a crumble topping or just something basic and not fussy.    This is one of my favorites from Ina Garten.    She has a style and flair that I just love…..too bad I have to be watching my weight.  I just love the rustic shape..the casual appeal it has.    I could eat this recipe every day.

Enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! 

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Apple Crostata

For the pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples; (3 large)
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, diced

For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet.

For the filling, peel, core, and cut the apples into 8th's. Cut each wedge into 3 chunks. Toss the chunks with the orange zest. Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together. Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle.

Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 6 servings

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.84 **

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cuban Black Bean Soup

Simmering Goodness and Good For YOU!

SOUP!!!   It's Whats for Supper

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Cuban Black Bean Soup

1 pound beans, dried black
1 cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
4 cup water
1  beef bullion cube
12 ounce ham, cooked lean
2  bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon thyme, dried leaf
1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1  pepper, dried whole red
1 cup pepper, green bell; chopped
1/3 cup dark rum (optional)
1 cup sour cream (optional)

Sort and soak beans overnight; drain and discard soak water.

In a 4-quart pot, saute onion in butter until tender but not browned.

Add soaked beans, 4 cups water, bouillon cube, ham (cut into 4-6 chunks), bay leaves, thyme, oregano, salt and red pepper. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until beans are tender, 1 to 1-1/2 hour.

Remove 1 cup. beans from stew, mash in a bowl with potato masher or fork. Add mashed beans to stew; stir to thicken. Remove ham and dice. Remove bay leaves and red pepper, if used and discard. Add diced meat, green pepper and rum (if desired) to beans. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Serve beans over rice and top with sour cream if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.84 **

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wonderful Winter Chili

Snow Time here in East Tennessee!!   Very cold weather arrived on Saturday but the snow only lasts until 4 in the late day.  Nice effect but really bad for driving.    Cold weather calls for WARM soups.   We enjoy this on a regular basis.   My last little addition is a splash of cider vinegar to each serving.   Corn bread....or cheese quesadillas will be good with the White Chili.   

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White Chili

poultry, soups

3  chicken breast; whole
3 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 can great northern beans
1 can green chilies; chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
Cilantro; to taste
  Monterrey jack cheese; shredded, as needed

This just isn't the same unless you boil the split breasts and use the broth which results. Leave skins on if you want more flavor and fat. Skin the chicken breasts if calorie watching. Do not bone. Boil the split breasts in 3-4 cups of water for 40 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the breasts to a bowl to cool. Continue boiling the broth until reduced to about 2 cups. Set aside.

Bone and chop the cooked, cooled chicken into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

In a 3 quart saucepan, saute onion, red pepper and garlic in the olive oil until onion is translucent. Add chicken broth, beans, 1 can drained, 1 can pureed, diced chilies and pre-cooked chicken. Stir in chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for at least an hour. Stir often to make sure the beans are not sticking. Adjust seasoning and serve, garnished with a sprig of cilantro and a little Monterrey Jack cheese shredded on top.

Yield: 6 servings

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.84 **

Bon Appetit!! 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Working on this years Thanksgiving menu.....and may have to sneak in a few special surprises for 
Family and Friends Visiting from Birmingham, Al.

Wishing Y'all a Very Happy Thanksgiving and
A Prosperous Christmas and New Year

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chicken Soup with Apples & Leeks

Have been craving Chicken Soup for a week now. I had forgot about a wonderful soup recipe I acquired many years ago. This recipe came from a woman from England. I loved her recipes and techniques....sort of mindful of The Two Fat Ladies show! Enjoy and don't skimp on the is essential for the European flavor! I have formatted this in NYC which is the only recipe format I use any longer.

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Chicken Soup W/ Apples And Leeks

1 chicken, quartered
  salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoon  butter
3 leeks, w/ 1 green, sliced
2 granny smith apples, peeled
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup vinegar
3 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoon Calvados
1/2 cup heavy cream

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Melt the butter over medium heat in a saute pan just large enough to hold the chicken. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook for about eight minutes over medium heat. If the butter in the pan starts to brown, lower the heat slightly. Turn the chicken and light saute in the same way for five minutes more.

Remove the chicken from the pan and place it in a bowl. If the butter in the saute pan has burned, pour it out and replace it with two tablespoons fresh butter. Add the leeks and cook them for 10 minutes over medium heat. Stir the leeks every couple of minutes.  They should be soft but not brown.

Put the chicken back in the pan with the leeks. Add the apples, apple juice, vinegar and broth. Bring the liquids to a slow simmer and with a ladle skim off any fat or froth that floats to the top. Cover the pot and simmer the chicken very gently for 10 to 15 minutes, until it is completely cooked.

Remove the chicken and let it cool. Remove and discard the skin and pull the meat away from the bones. Cut the meat into half inch chunks.

Use a ladle to skim off any fat that has formed on the surface of the liquid in a saute pan. Add the Calvados and the heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat the chunks of chicken in the soup for two minutes and serve immediately in hot bowls.

Suggestions and variations: Try adding a cup of sliced mushrooms along with the apples. The mushroom flavor goes well with the other ingredients, and the mushrooms make the soup more substantial. This soup is also delicious with curry, which can be added by gently cooking a tablespoon of curry powder in a tablespoon of butter and stirring it into the soup shortly before serving.

Yield: 6 servings

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.84 **

Enjoy this hearty winter soup with freshly baked bread!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

No Knead Bread 2.0

This has to be one of my favorite breads in the world. The texture and flavor is so European....a technique that has taken me years to execute. I have tried different versions but Cook's Illustrated provided the key method and a few ingredients to accentuate the flavor...primarily the beer and vinegar. The bread just comes alive with the "tang" that vinegar provides and the beer provides a nice hops flavor.

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No Knead Bread 2.0

15 ounce flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3 ounce beer
1 tablespoon vinegar
7 ounce water

Combine all ingredients in large bowl mixing to blend with spatula.
Let dough rise for 12 to 15 hours, covered with plastic film.

After rising, knead 10 to 15 times and form into a ball, seam side down.
Place on Pam sprayed parchment paper and place in 10 inch skillet. Spray top with Pam
 and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for two hours.

Thirty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 500 F. and add Dutch oven to preheat also.
Sprinkle top of loaf with flour and make six inch slash in top of dough.

Remove Dutch oven from oven and remove lid. Place bread in Dutch oven using the parchment paper as a sling. Replace lid and return to oven. Lower temperature to 425F and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove lid and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 210 F.

Notes: Cook's Illustrated
Yield: 1 loaf

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.84 **

Fifteen Hours later at the second rising. I use Pam coated parchment paper for a sling...helps ease the dough into the dutch oven. This suggestion courtesy of Cook's Illustrated.

Into the preheated 500F Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Place bread into oven WITH LID covering dough.

Fresh from the Oven 50 minutes later. The bread is baked for 30 minutes with the lid ON. Remove and bake 20 minutes longer until internal temperature is 210F. Otherwise, you will have a soggy interior.

After cooling, a beautiful interior and a very crisp European crust.

The finished bread ready for your
favorite dipping oil!! Bon Apetit!

Sunday, May 31, 2009


This has to be one of my favorite sites!
Just type in your town and discover your dining options.
China 1

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Cake

One of my favorite desserts is Hummingbird Cake. We are having the BBQ in July and that will be the dessert that I get to choose.

Here is the recipe for you to enjoy....I don't have a clue where it came from, but from some Wonderful Southern Baker! I salute you for a great recipe. This recipe is in NYC it is easy to copy and paste into your cookbook!!

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Hummingbird Cake

3 cup flour
2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounce pineapple, crushed
2 cup banana, chopped
1 cup pecans, chopped
8 ounce cream cheese
16 ounce powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, pecans and bananas.

Spoon batter into 3 prepared 9" cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Test as usual. Cool in pans for 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely.

Prepare Cream Cheese Frosting: Combine cream cheese and butter, beating until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. This cake will require more frosting....MAKE EXTRA!   Spread frosting between split layers, finish top and sides. Sprinkle top with 1/2 cup chopped pecans.

Yield: 8 servings

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.84 **

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Guest House Ready!!

We finally have the Guest House ready for use!! Had so much extra furniture to get rid of. I used Craig's List and got rid of many unneeded items. Actually, we got rid of close to $1000. in one day! Couldn't believe how many people wanted items that were not for sale. 

Summer BBQ--July 26th

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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