Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Watermelon Mock Margarita

This was the second mocktail I made and I SO enjoyed this. If you close your eyes while sipping this drink you could pretend you are on a beach in about California...with your man (or woman) close by. The sun is shining. Life is good. THEN you open your eyes and see dust, melted cats, dirty dishes, and a compost bucket that needs to be emptied.

Eh. Good while it lasted.

Make this on a hot night. Wonderful.

Watermelon Mock Margarita
Source: Margarita Mamas: Mocktails for the Mom-to-Be
Yield: One delicious drink that will make you feel like you are on sandy beach

1 cup frozen watermelon cubes
5 oz ginger ale
1 T lime juice

Blend it up. Pour in a pretty glass. Put your feet up. Chill out.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beachy Birthday

I was lucky enough to have my husband for 2 full days on the weekend following my birthday. He normally has to work either Saturday or Sunday but I guess he really does love me because he took both days off.

Every summer we drive to the coast of Maine and wander around beaches, parks, little towns, and have such a grand time. We always pack a lunch but have dinner some place along the way.

This year we stopped in Wiscasset to look around in the shops, Damariscotta to check out the Maine Cloth Diaper Company, and settled in at Pemaquid Beach for a few hours.

Every year we pack the same sandwich for our lunch. A pressed grilled veggie sandwich on ciabatta bread. We both love this. I also pack fruit, this time it was cherries and we stopped for a box of native strawberries along the way.

After a few hours at Pemaquid we sort of reversed our way along the coast and stopped in Boothbay. This is where we had dinner, at 93 Townsend. Very yummy and we created some fun memories there too. Boothbay is great for people watching. There is a mixture of locals, lobstermen, and tourists...always entertaining.

Pressed Sandwiches
Source: adapted from Martha Stewart
Yield: Two Sandwiches

1/4 cup olive oil
1 big clove garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, cut into long slices
1 small summer squash, cut into long slices
1 small eggplant, cut into long slices
1 red pepper, roasted and skin removed
Fresh Mozzarella
Cibatta Bread

Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat. Combine olive oil and garlic. Brush each side of the squash and eggplant with the olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Grill until tender. Chill.

Remove some of the bread inards and fill with pesto, sliced mozzarella, and cold veggies. Add the other piece of bread, wrap in plastic wrap, tie with butcher twine and press overnight.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rock a Bye Bellini

Now that the news is out about my growing belly, I can blog about these crazy food cravings and hunger.

All I want is fruit. And he loves it. He will kick and shove and nudge anytime I eat a piece of fruit. Especially watermelon, cherries, and pears. Luckily I love fruit and it is a great time of year to have fresh fruit.

For my birthday I was given the book, "Margarita Mama: Mocktails for the Mom-to-Be". (Thank you MM for the recommendation!!) I absolutely adore this little book and made my first mocktail last night; Rock a Bye Bellini.

It did just the trick for me. I made it at 8:00 just as I was settling down for the night. I put it in a champagne flute. And sipped it with my feet up. I will definitely make this one again!!

Rock a Bye Bellini

Source: Margarita Mamas
Yield: One

5 slices of frozen peaches
6 oz. ginger ale

Blend the peaches in a blender or food processor until pureed. Transfer to glass and stir in ginger ale. Delish.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

30th Birthday Cake and Announcement

I have a couple things to admit.

1. I just turned 30. I'm not freaked out. I don't feel old. I don't think I look old. I'm OK with this.

2. You may have noticed that the postings on this blog are down to a bare minimum. For that, I'm sorry. You know how life sometimes gets in the way of things? Well life is very exciting at 179. I am going to have a little boy at the end of October. We had an ultrasound last week and saw fingers, toes, heart, brain, etc. He is growing and kicking!

As you may know I like to make my own birthday cake. I have a list of cakes that I want to make but need a good excuse. I narrowed it down to this one cake, Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake with Mocha Mascarpone. But then...I read the reviews. People didn't like the frosting. They said it didn't match the cake. It didn't look like the picture. It was too light. I chose to make this cake anyway. I felt like if I didn't I would always wonder what the frosting was like.

I am so glad I made this. The cake is amazing. Very moist. Very flavorful. The frosting was awesome as well. It was almost like you made the filling for tiramisu with a mocha flavoring. I have my last piece in my lunchbox to share with my lovely friend Tina at lunch today.


Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake with Mocha Mascarpone Frosting
Source: Bon Appetit
Yield: 8-10 servings

2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (packed) brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 3/4 cup hot water
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 8-ounce containers chilled mascarpone cheese

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F. Generously butter two 9-inch cake pans with 2-inch-high sides; dust with flour, tapping out any excess. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. NOTE: Grease the hell out of the pans. I thought I had done enough but had to piece the cake back together after it stuck to the pan.

Sift 2 cups cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beating just until blended after each addition. Gradually add hot espresso-water mixture, beating just until smooth.
Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 15 minutes. Run small knife around sides of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto racks; lift pans off cakes and remove parchment. Place wire rack atop each cake; invert again so top side is up. Cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap each cake in plastic and store at room temperature.

Sift cocoa powder into large bowl; add espresso powder. Bring 1 cup cream to boil in small saucepan. Slowly pour cream over cocoa mixture, whisking until cocoa is completely dissolved, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup cream and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; keep chilled.

Add mascarpone to chilled cocoa mixture. Using electric mixer, beat on low speed until blended and smooth. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until mixture is thick and medium-firm peaks form when beaters are lifted, about 2 minutes (do not overbeat or mixture will curdle).

Using pastry brush, brush off crumbs from cakes. Place 1 cake layer, top side up, on platter. Spoon 1 3/4 cups frosting in dollops over top of cake. Using offset spatula, spread frosting to edges. Top with second cake layer, top side up, pressing to adhere. Spread thin layer of frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill 10 minutes. Using offset spatula, spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake, swirling decoratively. Top with chocolate curls, if desired. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; chill. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rainbow Bright Slaw!

We had a BBQ over Memorial weekend and I wanted to make a nice healthy slaw that Seth would love. He hates mayonnaise and he doesn't like cold potatoes and we had macaroni salad last week. I remembered having this really nice and bright slaw at a potluck lunch at my old job. I checked out the coworkers blog and found the recipe!

I looove this and plan on making it often. On her blog she referred to it as Asian Slaw but I'm naming my version Rainbow Slaw. I love all the colors...that means lots of vitamins and lots of flavors. I am listing her original recipe but I made a few changes and omissions and plan on playing around the the recipe each time I try it. Seth suggested slicing a bit of jalapeno into the slaw.

Oh. And I love the ginger flavor. Excellent!

P.S. Even my brother ate this!

Rainbow Slaw
Source: Keeley Kitchen Kapers
Yield: 4-6 servings

1 package of shredded cabbage (or shred your own)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, julienned into match-size pieces
1 celery stalk, sliced paper thin
1/2 red onion, in paper thin slivers (or 4-5 scallions, chopped)
1/3 cup slivered almonds (or peanut halves)
1 T freshly grated ginger (grated, not minced- use a microplaner for best results)
1.5 T canola oil
2 T white balsamic vinegar (can use regular vinegar but add a teaspoon of sugar if you do)
Optional: minced cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix the oil, vinegar, and ginger- set aside.
2. Mix all the veggies together. Add salt and pepper.
3. Pour on liquid and toss thoroughly.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cleaning Out!

I decided to clean out my spice cupboard. I was never able to find what I needed. And often times I would go to the store to buy a spice, dried herb, or extract only to find a month later that I already had it.

Here is a treasure! I'm not sure how old this is but I'm guessing over 12 years old. I think my mother bought this.

I found doubles and triples of many items including; cumin (3), garlic salt (2), crushed red pepper (2), Cajun seasoning (2), ground ginger (2), Bell's seasoning (2).

And things that I will never ever use. Like steak seasoning.

Then there were things that were as hard as a rock...and they were meant to be shakeable. Like rimmers for drinks, seasoning for popcorn, and general seasonings.

Trash, trash, and more trash!

A nice wipe down of the shelving.


Everything is nice and neat now. It is easy to find things. All my bulk herbs I get from the healthy food store are in one big plastic bag. I'm loving this!