Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stop and smell the coffee

Yes I do agree coffee is a major motivation to wake up every morning. With the nice weather I enjoy my first early morning cup relaxing in the peacefulness on my screened back porch. Is it me, but it seems the first cup always tastes the best?

Hey, don't you love the Smeg refrigerator? I'm obsessed!

This weekend I will be serving Counter Culture Farmhouse Blend Iced Coffee. I will achieve this product by using what is called a Japanese method. This is done by brewing a concentrated batch of coffee directly over ice. This allows the aromas of the coffee to pervade through the cup after it is brewed, so your iced coffee can taste very floral, delicate, sweet and milk chocolatey with a lighter thinner body.


Hey, try making these...
Everyone LOVED them last weekend.

Market fruit crumble humble pie squares

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups fresh farm market fruit
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares

super easy!


                                              Beauty from my garden, shades of pink!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

peace love rhubarb & strawberries

finally first of the season local Virginia fruit, rhubarb & strawberries in the house or in the oven! for the weekend I'm making fruit crumble pie bars, delish.
come and get'em......
I purchased the rhubarb and strawberries from the roadside farm stand minutes from Luckett's, Brossman's. great prices and super fresh! one goal of mine is to build new relationships and support Loudoun County's farmers.


working on pickled grapes, had a few pounds left over from this past weekend......hahaha!

for 2 pints:

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 cup dry white wine
a few allspice berries
1 bay leaf

wash and dry the grapes, then cut into small clusters
cut away any cracked, bruised or moldy grapes
place in container

combine sugar, vinegar, wine, allspice and bay leaf in saucepan.
bring to simmer, stirring, then cover and adjust heat to a bare simmer for about 1 minute
the brine should be tart but not make you pucker; adjust with vinegar or sugar as needed
leave barely warm to touch

pour the cooled brine over grapes, if brine is too warm, it will cook and soften the fruit which you don't want.

seal and store refrigerated for at least 1 week before using. keeps indefinitely.

these grapes rock. serve them on cheese plates, in salads, with quiche, cured meats, garnish for pates, grilled meats, the list goes on! use your imagination and taste buds.

hey, come visit me this weekend! support small biz and farmers!!!!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

thoughtful Tuesdays: Oliver wisdom


Oliver has some attitude today! But, he is right I do have a few hundred more brownies to bake. Burning some midnight oil this week, getting ready for what's in store for the Cowbell this weekend!
Make a trip out to visit this crazy madness!!!!

Cher & Oliver

Thursday, May 9, 2013

DIY: Mother's Day posy teacup + pink lemonade bars

Hey, this is so easy!

What Mom wouldn't love to find this on her "breakfast in bed" tray, as centerpieces for her garden luncheon or just presented to her with a box full of homemade pink lemonade bars.
Simple & made with love from you to your extra special Mother.

Here is what you need:
teacup, Lucketts is a treasure chest of options!!!!!
wet floral foam, I found this product at Michaels yesterday
kitchen knife
floral tape, white or green
flowers, herbs, greenery found in your garden or yard
small bowl of water
a favorite picture of your Mom for inspiration


Next: pick your teacup, cut your foam, soak, place in cup and secure with tape. Simple.

What I did was pick 3 different style of cups and sort of did a theme in each inspired from my Mom's love of garden flowers, the orange evoked a fern garden feel, the tiny flower cup featured shades of purple and the black and white had a more modern look using all bright colors.
There is no right or wrong way of designing, just have fun and create something one of a kind just for your Mom!
If you have more time try making these for Mom, my Mom loves anything pink!
Pink Lemonade Bars

For the base:
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup (125 grams) flour
For the lemonade layer
1 cup (about 5 ounces or 140 grams) raspberries, should be about 1/3 C
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice; this should only require 2 lemons
1/3 cup (40 grams) all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with parchment, letting it extend up two sides. Butter or coat the bottom and sides with a nonstick spray and set the pan aside.

Make the base: In a food processor, pulse together the sugar, zest and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it is evenly dispersed in the dough. Add the flour and pulse the machine until it’s just combined and the mixture is crumbly. Press the dough into the prepared pan and about 1/2-inch up the sides. Don’t worry about making this perfect; mine was an uneven mess and nobody can tell. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned at edges. Let cool on a rack while you prepare the filling (though no need for it to be completely cool when you fill it). Leave oven on.

Make the pink lemonade layer: Puree the raspberries in your food processor until they’re as liquefied as they’ll get. I don’t even bother cleaning mine between steps, but I’m also probably lazier than you. Run the puree through a fine-mesh sieve, trying to press out all the raspberry puree that you can, leaving the seeds behind. I ended up with 1/3 cup strained puree; don’t worry if you get a smidge less.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of raspberry puree. Stir in flour. Pour into cooling crust and return pan to the oven, baking the bars until they’re set (they’ll barely jiggle) and slightly golden at the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into rectangles. (You can speed this up in the fridge.)
I intended to cut mine into 32 2×1-inch rectangles but actually cut them into 28 2×1-ish rectangles. I like lemony bars small but you could also cut them into 16 2×2-inch squares. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Store in fridge for up to a week.

one last thing,

                                Happy Mother's Day to my amazing & beautiful Mom, Shirley Mae!!!!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

thoughtful Tuesdays: Oliver wisdom

Even the craziest of dogs have quiet reflective moments........ enjoy the rain!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy May!

Finally Mother Nature sent us great weather which equals farm produce. yippee!!!! This weekend thanks to Fiona, ramps from Slaynt Vie Farm will be on the menu. Next week fresh asparagus.

Hey what is a ramp?
Well a ramp is an early spring vegetable, a perennial wild onion with a strong garlic-like order and with a pronounced onion flavor. The scallion like stalk and bulb are both edible. There you go.

Here is what I'm going to do with them....
First saute them with salt, pepper & olive oil till they are soft and gloppy. Next roast red peppers. Slice up some mozzarella then layer all ingredients between ciabatta, brush the outside with butter then press.
I can't wait to serve'em up:) come try.

Here is a recipe for pizza, I'm obsessed with pizza....
This is from Smitten Kitchen blog.

Ramp Pizza
Inspired by Motorino’s version

4 ounce, about half a bundle, ramps (see footnote for other suggestions)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1 12-ounce pizza dough, Trader Joe's or Wegmans both have great fresh pizza dough, so easy
1/3 to 1/2 cup canned tomato puree or whole canned tomatoes
1 tiny garlic clove, minced
Pinch of sugar or drops of red wine vinegar (if needed)
3 to 4 ounces mozzarella, sliced into paper-thin rounds (optional)
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, finely grated
Trim hairy ends off ramp bulbs. Separate ramp bulbs/stems from darker leafy ends. Thinly slice the stem ends; cut the leafier ends into 1/2-inch thick ribbons.
Heat large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add a pinch of red pepper flakes if using, and the sliced bulbs and saute until translucent but still a little crunchy/sharp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add ramp leaves and cook until just wilted, barely 1 minute. Season with salt and set aside.
Heat your oven to its hottest temperature. Coat a baking sheet or pizza pan lightly with cornmeal (so that dough doesn’t stick). Stretch pizza dough into a very thin 11 to 12-inch round or large rectangle with your fingers. Don’t worry if it’s uneven or misshapen.
If using whole canned tomatoes, either chop or puree them until you have your desired sauce consistency. In a small bowl, mix them with garlic, salt and red pepper flakes if using. Taste for seasoning. You can add a drop or two of vinegar for extra brightness or a pinch of sugar if it tastes like it needs it. Spread this mixed tomato puree thinly over your dough almost to the edges. You might not need a full 1/2 cup; I tend to use 1/4 to 1/3 cup.
If using mozzarella, spread thin slices over tomatoes. Scatter sauteed ramps over pizza. Season with additional salt and pepper (or pepper flakes) and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake in heated oven for 10 to 12 minutes (keeping an eye on it if this is your first time baking pizza in a very hot oven), until crust is golden all around and mozzarella (if using) has some charred spots. Remove pizza from oven, scatter it immediately with pecorino romano cheese and serve in slices.

P.S. can hardly wait for.....

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