Postcards From Europe – Part 2

My Mom always said my postcards may have been pictures of the places I’d been, but my messages were always about what I’d eaten. I love to cook. I love to eat well. And I love to travel and visit with other foodies.
In Holland I stayed with friends, who live in a small village south of Amsterdam, foodies of course. He is the entrée and dessert man, she the queen of salads and all things vegetarian. We shopped, we cooked, we ate well. Read more of this post

Postcards From Europe

This year I traveled to two capitals of Europa – Prague and Vienna.  Not just capitals of their countries, Czech Republic and Austria, respectively, but also two of the top PASTRY capitals of Europe and the world!  And CAFÉ (as in coffee) capitals!  Pastry and café go hand-in-hand, as in inseparable.

Photo above: Too many choices at Gerstner’s Café!

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Jumping out of the fast lane

Its been quite awhile since I blogged – not counting the RIBS.  Sorry.  Retirement is so busy and time-consuming! I LOVE IT!!!

I’ve jumped out of the fast lane.  No more 120 miles per hour to get it all done, meet the deadlines and squeeze in a life.

Now I cruise at 45 to 60 miles per hour.  Sometimes I create my own ‘school zone’ so I can slow down and smell the rosemary and thyme and wallow in leisure.  I fill my time with the people and activities I enjoy. Read more of this post

A Christmas Eve Tradition

RIBS Kate’s BBQ Ribs Memphis Style

Served Christmas Eve 2010

THE STORY and THE RECIPE

I needed an entrée that we (my brothers with eager assists from the kids) could grill for Christmas Eve – it’s a tradition!!!  We grill out no matter the weather!  Some feelers out to the family and it was decided – BBQ ribs for dinner and sushi before to keep our strength up!  Fantastic!!

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Apple Pound Cake with Spiked Cider Glaze

Apple Pound Cake with Spiked Cider Glaze

This recipe is from Taste of Home’s Holiday & Celebration Cookbook c 2000  It was adapted and tested by one of our favorite cooks – Mr. Chaney take a bow!!!!

As you can see from the photo this cake is delish.  I can almost smell it

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For Fall an Apple Pear Crisp

This may look like a Plain Jane dessert but the taste and texture are all you could desire in a dessert for these lengthening fall evenings.  Beyond peeling the apples it’s a quick recipe.  Commandeer volunteers to peel the apples and pears, use a potato peeler, so simple.  The recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.

Start with a mix of half apples (a mix of goldens, jongolds, a granny for tartness, pippins or empires) and pears (bartletts are best), 2 to 3 pounds to yield 6 to 8 cups of peeled, cored and sliced apples.  Your baking dish will determine the quantity – 8” square or 9” round baking dish for 2 -2 ½ pounds.  I use a 12” long oval baker for up to 3 pounds of apples.

Preheat your oven to 400 F and butter the baking dish.

Toss the apple slices with 1 tsp of cinnamon, juice of ½ lemon and 1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar.  Dump this mixture into the baker and spread evenly.  Now I like to sprinkle a tablespoon or so of Poire Williams, apple jack or Calvados over the fruit for a bit more depth of flavor – its optional.

Next combine 5 Tbs cold butter – diced, ½ cup rolled oats – reg or quick, ½ cup reg flour and ½ cup chopped nuts – in a food processor (a mini is best – easier to clean up) and pulse till mixed but still rough.  To mix by hand use a pastry blender, a fork, two knives or your fingers.

Spread the topping mix over the apples.  Bake for 30 to 45 mins until the topping is brown and the apples and pears are tender.

Serve hot, warm or room temp.  Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.   This is why I keep the sugar on fruit low – I like the sweetness in the ice cream to contrast and complement the fruit.

Optional ingredients for the topping are:  unsweetened coconut about ¼ cup, dried currents, blueberries or raisins about ¼ cup.  Or whatever your imagination and taste buds are suggesting.

This recipe is based on one from Mark Bittman in How to Cook Everything

Thoughts on Fall

It’s my all-time favorite season.  I love the smell, the feel, the light, the all of it.

It’s gaudy like a painting on velvet.

It’s voluptuous with seeds and berries, a feast for the birds and the critters.

It’s coming home in the evening and the air is redolent with a neighbor’s wood fire.

It’s the new crop of apples – winesap, empire, jonathan – from no farther away than the next county. Crisp, juicy and delicious, apple cider is on its way.

It’s the first apple pie fresh out of the oven – one for me and one for Ruth next door.

It’s kicking through the crackle of the fallen leaves before the tractor sweeps through them to make my new supply of mulch.

It’s green mellowing into yellows into bronzes into browns.  And big bold splashes and slashes of orange and scarlet – blinding in the sun, cheering in the overcast.

It’s a 40 year old chrysanthemum – buds slowly opening to reveal yellow centers with purple red rays of petals.

It’s burying the tomato plants in their special compost pile – a mingling of old and new smells.  It’s remembering the last taste of this summer’s delicious fruits and anticipating next summer’s.