Happy Thanksgiving

Thinking of you, as I get ready for Thanksgiving …

ThanksgivingPilgrims

One of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving: Orange Carrot Soup.

OrangeCarrotSoup

… and another Bordeaux Cranberry Compote.

 

CranberryCompoteBordeaux

Don’t forget festive libations, including for designated drivers. This is my Black Tea Sangria, served over ice, with apple slices, mandarin orange slices, and frozen raspberries, then topped off with tonic water. I’m still looking for a good name for this mocktail. Have any suggestions?

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Don’t forget to spend a little time in nature to get away from the hustle and bustle for preparing for the holdiays…

KonzaPrairieWarmWinterDay

May everyone travel safely…

WoodyStationWagonHeadlight

Warmest wishes to you for a most lovely holiday season!

Chive Blossom Omelettes

Cousin Kate asked me for my Chive Blossom Omelette recipe and so I decided to share it here. Unfortunately, our chives are done blooming for the season – and I don’t have any other herbs flowering today, so I can’t make this recipe to photograph it right now. I am borrowing a chive photo from one of my very early blog posts and giving the recipe anyhow.  I hope that this post inspires you to use some herbs from your garden.

Thank you for the prompt, Kate!

chiveblossoms

2 large eggs, beaten until frothy

about 1 1/2 teaspoons of unsalted butter

optional: a little bit of Vidalia (sweet) onion sautéed in butter

sliced Havarti cheese, torn into several pieces

pinch of garlic powder

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

about 1 tablespoon of snipped chives and parsley

about 3 chive blossoms, gently torn apart

3  whole chive blossoms for garnish

Directions

Clean the herbs and pat dry with a clean towel before starting.

Preheat a 9″-skillet over medium heat. Add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of unsalted butter to the skillet and swirl it around until the butter just barely begins to sizzle. Immediately pour the eggs in and swirl them around the bottom of the pan. Try not to let the butter or the eggs brown. Turn the heat down, if necessary, while cooking the omelette.

Spoon the onion – if using – over half of the eggs. Top with enough cheese to mostly cover half of the egg mixture. Lightly  sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and fresh ground pepper. When eggs are very nearly set, top with the fresh herbs. Slide the omelette, filled half first, out of the pan and onto a warmed plate, folding the egg side over the filled side as you remove the pan.

Garnish with little creme fraiche (crema), a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper and a few whole chive blossoms. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

The Underrated Chive

Growing and Cooking with Herbs

 

Kumquat Gin & Tonic/Kumquat Tonic

KumquatG&T

Something I enjoy is creating cocktails and recently I made what I thought was a perfect Gin & Tonic … with kumquats! I won’t say that it is “the” perfect Gin & Tonic, because that all depends on what one is in the mood for and on one’s personal taste. (I, also happen to be a fan of Day Lily Gin Tonics for after working in the garden on a sticky hot early summer afternoon.)

Kumquats are very tart, as are limes, so they are a substitute for a squeeze of lime. But they are also sweet enough to eat, so one can consume them after finishing the drink.

Anyhow, here is what you need:

  • a good gin, one that you really like – I used Caorunn
  • chilled tonic water, one that actually has both fizz and flavor, e.g. Canada Dry in small glass bottles (a tart “soda”, e.g. San Pellegrino Limonata, can be substituted for those who like a slightly stronger sweet-tart cocktail)
  • several kumquats, sliced not too thin and not too thick
  • ice

Place the ice and the kumquat slice in a glass. Stir. Pour in gin to your desired strength (approximately a 1:3 gin to tonic ratio is my preference). Top with tonic. Enjoy! Share with friends over the upcoming holiday weekend! Cheers!

A quick note on tonics: if your tonic is flat or flavorless, it will ruin the drink, as will it if your tonic isn’t chilled because the ice cubes will melt too quickly.

When entertaining and serving cocktails, it is important to have fun alcohol-free beverages as well. For a pleasant mocktail, let’s call it a Kumquat Tonic, skip the gin, use the San Pellegrino Limonata (or something similar); don’t skimp on the kumquats … and use a lime slice for garnish. Very colorful and pleasant for hot weather! Again, cheers!

Either way … a delightful way to kick off summer! Best to you …

 

Blood Orange Lemonade for the Season(s)

I  usually think of lemonade as a summer libation, but we have been having unseasonably warm weather and the citrus fruits at the market have been so good, that making lemonade in the middle of winter seemed like a brilliant idea. So with a bag of lemons and a bag of blood oranges in the ‘fridge, I was all set. Yum, yum! Oh, and it is so pretty.

BloodOrangeLemonade2

Blood Orange Lemonade

1 1/2 c. fresh squeezed blood orange juice

1 1/2 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice*

1 c. raw sugar (turbinado sugar)

4 c. cold water

Pour the juices into a 2-qt. glass pitcher. Combine the sugar and water in a medium size pot and heat, stirring frequently until sugar is completely dissolved. Carefully pour syrup in juice blend.* Stir. Chill until serving. Serve over ice.

*If you are worried about the relative strength or sweetness of your lemonade, you can add the syrup in stages, tasting along the way.

BloodOrangeLemonade

Cheers to you!

In season or not, we’re enjoying Blood Orange Lemonade at The Morning Star today!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasons.

Heart’s Desire

HeartsDesireMuffin

Rich & moist, chocolate banana muffins with dried cherries and bittersweet chocolate.

Heart’s Desire Muffins

Makes 5

3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. granulated white sugar

1/4 c. natural cocoa

1 1/4 t. baking powder

1 t. ground cinnamon

1/4 t. baking soda

3/4 c. mashed overripe banana

1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted

1/4 c. buttermilk

1/2 c. dried cherries

1 1/2 oz. fine bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces

2 T. confectioner’s sugar, stirred together with a pinch of cinnamon.

Cinnamon gumdrops, optional, or desired garnish

Paper heart-shaped muffin molds*

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat together banana, butter, and buttermilk.
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until no dry spots show. Fold in cherries and broken chocolate.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin molds. Smooth tops with the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake for about 22 minutes or until muffins are firm to the touch.
  7. Sift confectioner’s sugar blend over muffins. Garnish, if desired. Serve (either in paper molds or removed from them.)
  • Available through Wilton and speciality baking supply companies.

Enjoy!

May your heart be full  of happiness this Valentine’s Day!

HeartsDesireMuffin@

Hmm! White Chili

ChiliWhite2

it is a rainy Memorial Day Weekend here in Manhattan, Kansas. So I thought that a White Chili would be a good dish to serve – fun & casual, flavorful & warming, but not too heavy. I hope that you are having a great weekend!

White Chili

This flavorful dish is what is traditionally referred to as a white chili (because no tomatoes are used in the base). This vegetarian version, though, is more of a light golden color.

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 T. crushed garlic

1 sweet yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 c.)

2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1/2 c.)

1 Anaheim pepper, chopped (about 1/2 c.)

5 sweet mini yellow peppers, chopped (about 1/2 c.)

1 jalapeño, minced (about 2 T.)

1 (15 oz) can chick peas, rinsed and drained

1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 c. frozen yellow corn, semi-thawed

1 t. ground cumin

1/2 t. white pepper

3 c. boiling water

2 “Not-Chick’n” bouillon cubes

4 oz. low-fat cream cheese

1 ripe avocado, diced (for garnish)

juice of 1 lemon

1 c. chopped ripe tomato (for garnish)

2  – 3 T. cilantro leaves, stemmed and chopped (for garnish)

cheddar cheese, shredded (for garnish, optional)

  1. Place olive oil in a large deep skillet or stock pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, celery, and peppers. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  2. Stir in chick peas, beans, corn, cumin and white pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water. Add cream cheese to bouillon and stir until mostly dissolved. Stir bouillon mixture into pot. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook just below a simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Just before serving, toss together avocado, lemon juice tomato and cilantro leaves. Ladle chili into bowls. If desired, top with cheese. Garnish with avocado-tomato mixture.

Enjoy! Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Kentucky Bourbon Balls


BourbonBalls

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

Makes 24 pieces of confections

Ingredients

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate

2 oz. semisweet chocolate

1/4 c. unsalted butter

2 T. Kentucky Bourbon

2 c. confectioner’s sugar

2 T. dried currants or chopped raisins.

3/4 c. chopped nuts

Directions

1. Melt together chocolates and butter, stirring until perfectly smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in Bourbon, then sugar until mixture is soft, smooth and glossy. Stir in currants or raisins.

2. Scoop about 2 t. of mixture and roll into a ball. Roll in chopped nuts to coat. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

These confections are a delight to lovers of chocolate & Bourbon and are super easy to make! Enjoy!