Tuesday, August 19, 2014
after a busy day of driving in endless loops looking for a place to live, we wandered back to colonial williamsburg to see the village. something to keep in mind, you can enter the village freely and wander the streets without buying a ticket. many of the gardens and exhibits allow you to enter for free as well but to see and experience the entire village, you will need to buy a ticket since many areas require it for entrance. we had only an hour or so to walk the village and decided to wait to buy tickets on a day that we could truly stay and experience it all.
after spending much of our time just wandering gardens, we ventured back to merchant square and into the dog street pub for what we thought would be a drink in the bar and a chance to cool off and get out of the hot sun. we sat at the bar sipping drinks; a glass of pinot grigio for me and a glass of the founders pale ale nitro for darry. since we were a bit tired from all of the time spent driving, a little overheated from the hot summer sun and apparently hungry, darry decided to order something to snack on. we started out with house made hummus. the lovely presentation of a glass jar and freshly baked croutons was almost too pretty to dig into. the light, creamy hummus was made with just the right amount of garlic and lemon and was just what we needed to accompany our drinks.
many thanks to the bartenders on duty during our visit, they gave us great service and answered all of our questions-even those about where they lived; well, we are trying to find a place to live...to see the menu, and the beer list check out the website.
and one more thing, we were not compensated in any way for this, we paid for our drinks and food ourselves!
Monday, August 18, 2014
part of that process included getting to know the area. sure, i visited colonial williamsburg as a kid but this is the first time i have done so as an adult. my father will be proud to know that this time, i truly appreciate the historical aspect of the city and i am looking forward to getting to know all i can about this beautiful place.
during the summer, the historical merchants square is home to a weekly farmers market. each saturday morning, the street is filled with vendor booths stocked with products ranging from flowers, baked goods, chocolates and produce to meats, cheeses and honey. if you cannot find it here, it just isn't in season! be sure to check out the website as it lists the vendors who will be in attendance each week-yes the website is updated weekly, so you can plan your trip in advance if there is a specific item you would like to purchase. darry and i spent the morning wandering from booth to booth while listening to live music courtesy of a local group of what we assumed were very talented high school students. the best part about the market, you can purchase wooden nickels, tokens if you will, for $5 each and then spend them all season long at the market-a great idea if you want to stick to a budget or if you happen to pop in at the last minute and are short on cash. these tokens spend like cash and if your total is less than $5, they will give you change in cash.
having lived in tennessee for a while now, i was a little surprised to see such a small variety of tomatoes. it seems that the folks in nashville are much more tomato crazy-must be the tomato sandwich that drives it. only one vendor had cherokee purples-a tomato that darry is completely hooked on, and rightly so! we settled on a basket of mixed tomatoes to snack on.
nothing like fresh berries from the market-just picked and juicy!
Sunday, August 10, 2014
for this version, i used biscoff cookies and pennington's strawberry rye and it was as tasty as it was easy to make. the hardest part; letting it sit in the fridge long enough for the cookies to soften!
special thanks to my good friend the food sheriff for sharing a bottle of pennington's strawberry rye with me! to see the other desserts i made with it, follow these links:
triple chocolate truffle bars
Sunday, August 3, 2014
with many thanks to my good friend, the food sheriff, i found myself in possession of some penningtons, strawberry rye and the instructions to "make something!" have i ever told you that i am good at following instructions? okay, that is stretching it, a lot, but this time, i did exactly that.
the first change came when i decided to replace the espresso with a strong batch of black tea. this dark tea was combined with the pennington's strawberry rye and a little sugar to make the soaking liquid for the savoiardi.
to further adapt the recipe, the traditionally called for marsala was omitted from the zabaglione and the strawberry rye was used in a one to one switch. to keep it light and simple, whipped cream was used rather than whipped mascarpone cheese. the result of these changes is a lovely, creamy whiskey and tea infused dessert that is both simple and sophisticated.
the best type of cookie for this recipe is a true italian savoiardi, a crispy lady finger that soaks up the tea and rye syrup. finding them in the grocery store can be a challenge but in nashville, i quickly found them at publix. for best results, make the dessert the day before so that it has time to set and make cutting it into portions for serving.
1 (8"x 8") pan serving 6-8
1 (7ounce) package of savoiardi
1 pint fresh strawberries
white chocolate shavings
tea syrup, recipe follows
zabaglione, recipe follows
press plastic wrap into an 8"x 8" dish so that the sides and bottom are covered. dip a few of the savoiardi into the tea syrup and line them up on the bottom of the dish so that the surface is covered. carefully spread a third of the zabaglione cream over the top using a small, offset palette knife or a spatula. place enough tea soaked savoiardi over the top of the cream, going in the opposite direction to completely cover it. top with another third of the zabaglione cream and spread it out evenly. repeat the process with the final portion of tea soaked savoiardi and zabaglione cream. press plastic over the surface and allow it to sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
to serve the dessert, carefully invert the dessert onto a plate-do not remove the plastic on the cream side, leave it intact for now. holding the plastic wrap that is lining the bottom of the pan, gently pull the dish away. remove the plastic wrap that is on the cookie side of the dessert and place a serving dish over the dessert and invert it. remove the remaining plastic wrap and using the tip of the palette knife to create a swirled design over the top of the dessert. cut into the desired portions and serve with slices of fresh strawberries and a generous sprinkle of white chocolate shavings.
2 cups water
6 black tea bags, single cup size
3 tablespoons pennington's strawberry rye
1/3 cup sugar
bring the water to a boil over high heat. add the tea bags and allow the tea to steep for at least 5 minutes and as long as 10 minutes. remove the tea bags and gently squeeze the liquid out of them and into the pot.
to make the syrup, measure out 1 1/2 cups of warm tea and combine it with the rye and sugar. gently mix to dissolve the sugar. set aside to cool completely. can be made several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup pennington's strawberry rye
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
in a heat proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and rye together. to create a double boiler, choose a pot that is large enough to allow the bowl to rest over a few inches of water without touching. over medium-low heat, whisk the mixture continuously until it reaches 135 degrees F.
pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer with the wire whisk and allow it to whip until it reaches a thick ribbon. fold in the whipped cream and use immediately.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
after a truly action packed month, i am glad to be back! the master gardeners chapter i belong to hosts a festival each may and last month, i was the co-chair of the event. not sure what i was thinking when i agreed to do that-it ruled my life that last few weeks before the big day!
for the first challenge in june, the tuesdays with dorie bakers chose a simple, savory wheat cracker. the dough has 3 ingredients; whole wheat flour, water and salt. a variety of seeds and a spritz of water tops them off.
so thin! it was actually pretty easy to roll out the dough. resting it was the key and lots of flour on the table and the dough helped too.
i made half of the recipe and cut it into 4 pieces. each one was cut into a different shape. for this first sheet, i gave it a sprinkle of nanami togarashi, a japanese pepper blend.
to keep it interesting, i also changed the topping on each sheet of dough. these were simply sesame seeds.
the lighter crackers just do not have the crispy crunch a cracker needs.
the salted sticks are my favorite-especially so since they are also the darkest.
the spicy japanese pepper blend is a nice addition to the crackers.
tuesdays with dorie website.
Sunday, June 1, 2014
as master gardeners, we spend time preparing gardens for tours and on occasion, those gardens are our own. it is a chance to share our most prized possession with fellow gardeners. this afternoon, i had the pleasure of visiting the garden of one of my fellow demonstration garden volunteers.
certified wildlife habitat. and because caroll is who she is, there is also a touch of whimsy and that blue bottle tree is just a small taste of all the accent pieces that are scattered throughout the yard.
just one of the many views from below looking up at the house.
the bear's breeches were putting on quite the show for us.
the lady herself, in the garden with cake, as it should be. we all snacked on cake as we walked around the various parts of the garden and listened to caroll tell the story of the garden.
love the blossoms on the bear's breeches.
chocolate chip bundt cake
1 small bundt cake serving about 12
(or 40 if they are gardeners limiting themselves to tiny slivers of cake...)
2 ounces almond paste, buy the kind in an 8 ounce can and remove it from the can by opening both ends and pushing it through. cut it into four equal pieces and save the remaining pieces by wrapping them in plastic and storing them in the freezer; thaw it as needed.
1 1/4 cup sugar
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
preheat the oven to 350. grease and flour an 8 cup bundt pan and set it aside. place the almond paste and the sugar into the bowl of a food processor and pulse it to cut up the almond paste. allow the machine to run so that the almond paste is finely chopped.
add the butter, vanilla, almond extract and the salt and process until a smooth paste is formed. with the machine running, add the eggs, one at a time and process to combine. scrape the bowl and run again until the mixture is smooth. scrape the batter into a mixing bowl.
place the flour and the baking powder into a sifter or a mesh strainer and sift it over the batter. sprinkle the chocolate chips over the flour and fold the mixture a few times. drizzle the buttermilk over the batter and fold the mixture together until no streaks of flour remain.
using a large spoon, dollop 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. resist the temptation to smooth this out and dust the top of the batter with 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar. repeat this process once more and then top it all off with the remaining amount of batter. this time, smooth the batter out so that it is level across the pan-it will bake more evenly this way.
bake until a pick inserted comes out clean, about 55 minutes. allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes and then turn it out onto a rack to cool.