Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just a small delay

After such a delay in blogging and feeling guilty about it every day, I think it is time to tell you I will be taking a break.  After living so many years, it has been quite easy to readjust plans to go on.  I am just thankful that we can still make plans.

The last few weeks have been spent eating out of the freezer in anticipation of going north west for the summer.  We keep a running tab pinned on the freezer telling us what lies inside and therefore all meals are planned on eating it up in a timely fashion.  Everything was moving along quite well until the Trout decided to have a check up with his doctor.  The doctor immediately set him up with a surgeon and just like that, surgery is scheduled for Tuesday.  Our plans were to leave on Wednesday morning.

It seems the complicated surgery he had last September while out in Montana now needs revision as a hernia under the incision has occurred.  That means no driving for 3 weeks and all the lifting restrictions that go with it.

We had originally canceled all plans for going to France in May, when we usually go, after my knee surgery in December.  In hindsight, that was a very good idea.  We have made plans for stomping around Provence  in late October, so that seems to be working out well also.

We will take each day as it comes and be thankful we are as healthy as we are.  Our love for travel will not stop.  The Trout's fly fishing will continue in Montana...just a bit later.  All is well and I will be back shortly.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dinner on 2 grills

One of the tastiest ideas I have learned from my blogging friends, comes from Ann, at Thibeault's Table.  If you do not know Ann or her wonderful tasting blog, please go there.

Along with being a chef, baker and bread baker extraordinaire, Ann, by personal email, has taught me how to pre-salt meat for extra flavor.  In particular, we have been pre-salting steaks for several weeks now.  What a difference this makes.

It just takes a little planning.  We generously salt a piece of meat and wrap in cellophane and refrigerator for a day.  The next day, unwrap and let the meat air dry in the refrigerator for a day.  Then, grill!!  Oh yes, it really does make a difference.  Unless short on time, I can't imagine cooking steak any other way.

We had a pre-salted Porterhouse (a favorite cut of mine), grilled Romaine salad, and mushrooms with thyme.

The steak was grilled on charcoal...our preferred way.  The gas grill was also going.  On this gas grill we were preparing a Grilled Caesar Salad.  Oh yes!!!

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times.  Followed pretty closely, but the changes follow.

Grilled Caesar Salad
adapted from The New York Times


1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1 tablespoon lime zest
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 head romaine lettuce, tops and bottoms trimmed neatly, the heads cut lengthwise into quarters
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

We prepared the Caesar dressing in a small food processor and set it aside.

We did not make the vinaigrette because I felt it was over-top dressing and not necessary.  We did not miss it.

Drizzle olive oil over the lettuce and grill 15-20 seconds on each side.  Place on a platter and brush the Caesar dressing on the lettuce.  Sprinkle with the Parmesan and grill covered for 30 seconds.

It was perfect and delicious.  At this point, the recipe called for drizzling the vinaigrette over the grilled romaine.  Try this if you like, but honestly, it is not necessary.  This turned out to be a quick and very tasty salad.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tomato-Olive Bruschetta with Goat Cheese

Typically we make bruschetta with fresh tomatoes.  I like it that way.  The Trout wanted to try something new.  He saw an ad in a magazine for Muir Glen organic tomatoes.  He liked what he saw and so we tried it.  I have to say, this was delicious and would certainly work if good tomatoes were not available.  Our neighbors enjoyed them also as we enjoyed them with cocktails in the afternoon.

I love the addition of the goat cheese.  I hope you have a chance to try this.  Use fresh tomatoes if you wish, but the fire-roasted canned tomatoes do give it a nice flavor.

Tomato-Olive Bruschetta with Goat Cheese
from Muir Glen recipes - makes 24 appetizers

1 14.5 ounce can Muir Glen  organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered
1/4 cup roasted red bell peppers, coarsely chopped and drained
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (4 ounces) soft goat cheese
24 slices, about 1/2 inch thick, baguette, toasted

In a medium bowl, mix tomatoes, olives, roasted peppers, basil and oil.  Spread goat cheese onto toasted baguette slice.  Top with tomato mixture.  Serve immediately.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Thinking back, it was a choice I made to want to be a mother.  I really didn't know what I was asking for at the time.  It seemed to be the normal way the river might flow.  A girl grows up, falls in love in high school, no less, marries and wants to have children.  Seems very simple.  It is not.

There are no books to tell a young mother what needs to be done to raise a child or more than one.  It is a "guess we'll try this next time" kind of attitude.  A partner that thinks as you do is a great help.  As husband and wife, mother and father, you muddle through those years together.  Were mistakes can be sure.  Were there can be sure.  It is the toughest job there is.  The only thing that can guide you seems to be common sense and instinct and a faith in God.  

I was fortunate to have two beautiful babies....two daughters. And now another girl in the family, a granddaughter, is also going to follow in the steps my mother and grandmother and those other strong German women who walked before me.

Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful daughters, Erika and Angie.  You have added more branches onto the family tree.  Another three sons between the two of you will strengthen the trunk of our tree.   May you enjoy each day as Mother's Day, not just this one special day.  May your children grow strong and develop values to make them capable of leaving the nest and starting their own families.   I love you all.  Mom...2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

Shrimp Appetizers

We eat a lot of shrimp.  We don't buy them frozen in bags or from the local grocers.  We are fortunate to have a fish store in our town.  It tends to be a smelly visit, but the seafood is always fresh and it moves quickly from seller to buyer.  Usually there is a choice of 4 or 5 different sized shrimp or types, some peeled, most with shells.  The price is very good also.

So, since we do eat a lot of shrimp in different ways, I tried a new way to prepare them today.  I have always started a pot of water with a healthy amount of Old Bay Seasoning added.  Shrimp are dropped into the water and boiled gently for 3-4 minutes.  The May issue of Southern Living magazine is full of shrimpy things this month.  When I saw directions for "Perfect Poached Shrimp," I knew I had to try it.

Perfect Poached Shrimp
  Southern Living Magazine

Pour 4 quarts of water into a Dutch oven.  Squeeze lemon juice from 1 lemon, halved into the water.  Stir in the lemon halves, 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves and 2 tsp. salt.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Remove from heat.  Add 2 pounds unpeeled, large raw shrimp.  Cover and let stand 5 minutes or until shrimp just turn pink.  Stir shrimp into a bowl of ice water.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Peel and devein shrimp.

This turned out to be a simple way to cook the shrimp.  I do think next time I will shorten the length of time in the ice water.  It seemed to make them overly firm.  Just refrigerating before peeling might be good enough.

Shrimp in Cucumber Cups
  Southern Living Magazine

Stir together one 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened; 1/4 cup sour cream; 1 Tbsp. fresh dill; 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives; 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice; 1/4 tsp salt.  Cut 2 English cucumbers into 30 (3/4 inch thick) rounds.  Scoop seeds from centers of cucumber rounds using a melon baller or small spoon and leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell.  Fill cucumber cups with cream cheese mixture.  Top each with 1 peeled Perfect Poached Shrimp.  Garnish with fresh dill sprigs.  Makes 30 appetizer servings.

We really enjoyed these shrimp with an afternoon cocktail before dinner.  Simple and it is really showy, don't you think?