Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Late Spring Garden

Late spring is one of the best times in my flower garden. Irises and peonies, my favorites. I went to the plant nursery this morning to buy vegetable plants for the vegetable garden. Picked up afew perennials, then came home and weeded the flower gardens all morning. Very therapeutic.


Red Rhododendron. Very pretty flowers, but this plant has never grown very large.

Spiderwort. Just planted this today

White iris

Variegated Weigela

The first peonies

Lavender Iris

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pineapple Confetti Cake

I enjoy making cakes from scratch, but every once in awhile I need to make something faster, or I feel lazy, and a box comes in handy. This cake is a lazy example. I could have shaved the top layer to make it flatter, but that would have been far too much effort!

Pineapple Confetti Cake

1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp butter
8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained (press into strainer and retain juice)
pinch salt
pinch nutmeg

1 box white cake mix
1 cup water
retained pineapple juice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 large egg whites
1/4 cup colored sprinkles

1 can white frosting (or 2 cups homemade buttercream frosting)
1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all filling ingredients in medium saucepan. Simmer and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens and no longer looks cloudy (about 5 minutes). Set aside to cool.
Spray 2 9” round baking pans with baking spray. Combine cake ingredients in mixer (or by hand) and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. Pour equal amounts batter into pans, smooth out with a spatula. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and pick inserted comes out clean.
Let cool, remove from pans. If desired, trim layers to make them more flat and even. Spread thin layer of frosting on top of first layer. Spread pineapple filling on frosting. Place second cake layer on top.
Frost cake and sprinkle with coconut flakes.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Blue is one of my favorites, but it's rather difficult to find true blue in nature, other than in birds. Most things that are "blue" seem to be more purple than truly blue.

Obviously, there is the blue sky

I want a peacock. One of these days I may get one, although I know that they are extremely noisy and tend to be unfriendly!

Our blue point Ragdoll cat Iris has beautiful blue eyes.

After the ice storm. I wish that the camera would have captured how beautiful everything looked when the sun came out after this ice storm. It looked as if the trees had been sprayed with liquid diamonds.

I have mixed feelings towards large marine mammals in captivity. They should NEVER be taken from the wild unless it is to rehabilitate them from an injury. However, I also see an educational value in keeping some captive born/can't return to the wild marine mammals in situations (non performing situations in which they can be properly cared for) where the public can view them. Seeing an animal up close does raise awareness, and can spur more donations to charities that help wild populations to survive.

Friday, May 7, 2010



I have to admit that yellow isn’t normally one of my favorite colors. I painted my laundry room yellow and ever since then I’ve been trying to figure out what color would work better for me in that room. However, I do like yellow outdoors, especially in the spring and fall. It’s nice to see that first pop of yellow daffodils after months of snow.

Still life in yellow

I’m not sure what this plant is. Looks like a cactus, but this photo was taken on Assateague Island in June.

Sunflowers are fun. Easy to grow, and a big statement in the garden for very little expended effort

The humble dandelion. I find dandelions to be very pretty. When we lived in town, I’m sure the neighbors cringed because we had dandelions in the yard every spring. The rest of the street doused their lawns in chemicals. Living in the country, nobody cares about dandelions

Sunshine on a fall day

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mediterranean Garden Spaghetti

With summer quickly approaching, it's time to come up with some lighter meals. Between kid activities like 4H getting into full swing and summer maintenance on the farm, quick meals are also a priority. This meatless dish is both light and easy!

1 lb spaghetti, cooked al dente per package instructions
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 avocado, peeled and flaked
1 cup feta cheese

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in large skillet. Sautee garlic, scallions, basil and tomatoes over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Put spaghetti in large serving bowl. Pour sauteed tomato mixture over spaghetti, add remaining olive oil, salt, pepper, avocado and feta cheese and toss together.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The bees have arrived

This morning we welcomed 10,000 or so new members to our family. At 6 am the phone rang. It was the local post office informing us that our bees had arrived. They seemed rather eager for us to get there as soon as possible to remove them from the post office.
My husband had set up the hive last weekend in preparation for their arrival. After reading several books about beekeeping, he'd decided that he didn't really need any protective equipment other than the bee hood (bees will attempt to crawl into your nose and ears). Plus we'd seen a really good movie called Ulee's Gold, starring Peter Fonda as a beekeeper. Peter Fonda walked freely amongst the bees ( which were probably computer generated) sans gloves or any other protective gear. My husband was going to be the Bee Whisperer.
The bees arrived in the wooden and mesh cage pictured above. Several were loose and clinging to the cage, so the person at the post office happily gave us the plastic USPS tote that the cage was in and sent us on our way.
Our next door neighbors had bees for several years, so they had all of the gear. When it came time to put the bees in the hive, I suggested to hubby that he go next door to borrow additional safety gear. "No, I don't need that stuff. It's all about remaining calm. They won't sting you if you stay calm". Ooookay. For protective gear, he opted for a fishing raincoat and the bee hood.
The queen bee is in a separate little box. The box is corked, and after you remove the cork she is still kept in there with a piece of sugar "candy". Within several days, the worker bees will eat the candy, releasing the queen. Hopefully by then they will have decided that they like her, and will take care of her. If not... we have to get a new queen. After she is placed in the hive, it's time to install the rest of the bees.


When it comes time to release the bees into the hive, you basically kind of bang the cage until they come out and go into the hive. Turns out bees don't really like being banged around. The Bee Whisperer ending up running and getting stung once. I was 40 feet away, and one bee ended up stuck in my hair, which involved running and flailing.

In the end, the bees were safely transferred to their new home. Our neighbors kindly brought over their unused bee equipment, including a full safety suit which will be used from now on, or until we learn the art of remaining zen calm with bees crawling on us.

Friday, April 30, 2010


Halloween, pumpkins, sunsets, autumn, bonfires.... Orange is good

Can’t think of anything better for orange than this sweet orange kitten!

Cold, rainy day at the pumpkin farm

I do envy some of the beautiful tropical plants that friends in warmer climates can grow. Took this on my visit to Los Angeles last year.

I would absolutely love to have a koi pond. The maintenance doesn’t look like that much fun though, and we’d struggle daily to keep our golden retriever out of it.

Beautiful fall day

Summer bonfire at my brother in law’s house

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I got the idea for a Rainbow photo project from my friend Susan at her blog I am always looking for "assignments" to foster creativity, I love color (no beige walls and beige carpet here!) and the idea of doing a photo series for each color of the rainbow sounded like fun.
Today's color is RED.


This rooster is "Platinum". He was hatched here at our farm last summer. He is actually very friendly, and will probably be shown at the county fair this year. His father "Silver" attacks me every time I go into the barn. I am the one who feeds him most of the time, so I can only discern that Silver isn't too bright.


These 3 day old piggies are keeping warm under the red light.


I can never get enough of the beautiful fall foliage here in Ohio.


Red dahlias in my garden last summer. Dahlias are a flower that I love, but I don't grow more of them because they have to be lifted in the winter here in northeast Ohio. The bulbs are generally fairly expensive to buy, and although I start with the best of intentions, I never get around to digging them up in the fall.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Avocado Coconut Pound Cake

More fun with avocado! When I open up an avocado, one of the first things that comes to mind is the buttery texture. I love to bake, and I was curious to see how well avocado would substitute for butter in a cake recipe. Pound cake seemed to be the perfect buttery cake to experiment with. It worked wonderfully. The result was a very moist cake with a beautiful color and great flavor. I paired it with coconut and lime flavors, which were very complimentary.
I used a fancy bundt pan, because I have one, but any bundt pan will do. Mine is non stick, but I still sprayed it liberally with baking spray. If you don't have cake flour, you can substitute 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch for each cup of cake flour.

Avocado Coconut Pound Cake

2 avocados, peeled and mashed
3 cups white sugar
5 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups cakes flour
1 tsp baking powder
zest 1 lime (reserve a tsp for glaze)
1 cup sweetened flake coconut (plus a little extra for garnish)

Glaze :
1 cup confectioners sugar
3 tbsp lime juice
reserved lime zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees . Thoroughly spray standard size bundt pan with baking spray. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the avocado and sugar until thoroughly mixed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla, lime juice, sour cream, lime zest and coconut. Beat in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 1 hour or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then invert onto another plate.
Combine garnish ingredients and drizzle on warm cake. Sprinkle with coconut.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

The environment is one of my passions. My approach is "every little bit helps". No one person can change the world, but if everyone did just afew little things, it could make a big difference. It's not an all or nothing propsition, either living in a tent and eating grass clippings or driving a Hummer (which thankfully aren't made anymore, yea!) to the end of the driveway to pick up the mail. Lots of space in between to make good things happen.
Here are just afew of the little things that we do around our home. There are others, and every day I look for new things to add to make the world a better place.
1. No chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. With horses and chickens, composted fertilizer is never tough to come by. Weeds get pulled by hand, and we like the way that the dandelions look in the grass. Besides, they really only last in full force for a month or so anyway. We rarely have disease/pest issues with our plants. On the rare occasion we do, I look to a source like Gardens Alive for a natural solution.
2. Limit cleaning chemicals. I clean almost everything with water, vinegar, and a little mild dish soap. I usually scour with baking soda, though I do keep a can of comet and some bleach around in case of really tough rust water stains. But both of those things last a looong time, and are used as sparingly as possible. Makes cleaning supplies a lot cheaper too!
3. Reusable cloth grocery bags. It was such a relief to be free from the tangle of plastic bags that was always breeding in the cabinet under the sink.
4. Combine trips. As a compulsive list maker, this one was easy for me. I try to avoid running out for just one or 2 things. If I have to go somewhere, I try find other errands I can tackle along the way in the same trip to save on gas and emissions.
5. Laundry - Afew years ago we got a high efficiency front load washer/dryer set, and it made a huge difference in our electric bill (electric dryer). They use a lot less water too (though we have a well, so it's hard to track exact water use). Most loads are washed in cold water. Maybe this summer I will tackle a clothesline.
6. CFL bulbs. We replaced almost all of the bulbs in our house as they burned out with CFLs. All of our high use bulbs are now compact flourescents. We started using them about 8 years ago, and we JUST had our first one burn out. With regular bulbs, there were some fixtures that seemed to always have a burned out bulb.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Balsamic Chicken Avocado Manicotti

I grew up being lukewarm towards avocados, mainly because having been raised in Ohio, I'd only ever experienced them in mediocre, chain restaurant guacamole. Then I moved to southern California and got to experience what can be done with avocados, and how delicious they are! I've been a convert ever since. I'd mainly used them in Mexican dishes, so I thought I'd change things up and see how they work with Italian. I was very pleased with the results.
I find that the best way to stuff filling into manicotti noodles is with a baby spoon.

Balsamic Chicken Avocado Manicotti

1 8 oz box manicotti shells, cooked per package directions
1 lb Chicken breasts, cut into 1” pieces
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp garlic, 1 small onion (finely diced), 1/2 cup fresh basil (finely chopped), 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/3 cup red wine, 1 tsp brown sugar.

15 container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 avocado, peeled and mashed with fork

Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken cubes in large baking dish. Cover with balsamic vinegar, stir with minced garlic. Cover with plastic and marinate in refrigerator while preparing sauce and filling (this step can also be done earlier in the day).
Sauce - In a large stockpot, heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add garlic and onion. Saute 3 minutes over medium. Add basil, sautee 2 more minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Prepare filling. Combine all filling ingredients in order in a large bowl. Mix just until combined.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in large skillet. Remove chicken from marinade and place in pan. Cook until chicken pieces are about 3/4 of the way cooked through (about 2 1/2 minutes on each side). Remove from pan.
Fill manicotti noodles with filling. Place in large baking dish. Top with chicken, then sauce. Cover with foil and heat in oven for 20 minutes, until heated through and chicken is fully cooked.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Apple Walnut Skillet Muffin

Normally I make muffins from scratch, but I had some muffin mix in the pantry that I wanted to use up, and I thought I'd do something different with it. Different flavors of muffin mix would work too, and you can use a pan that is a little smaller (it just might have to bake longer). As always, real maple syrup, no fake stuff!

2 7 oz packets Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Spray an 11" cast iron pan with baking spray. Preheat oven to 425. In a medium bowl, combine muffin mix, milk and 1/2 cup syrup. Mix until just combined, pour into prepared pan.
In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Spread on top of batter.
Bake approx 25 minutes or until golden brown.
1 tsp cinnamon

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Growing Seeds

We have a large garden every year, bu other than sunflowers and pumpkins we don't generally do a lot from seed. In the past when I've tried seeds, I tend to lose interest and forget about them, so normally I buy plants from local nurseries right before planting.
Several weeks ago we had a beautiful warm Sunday and I was itching to plant something. Garden planting season here isn't until after Mother's Day, so I decided to go to Lowes and pick up afew packets of seeds. While I was there, I ended up buying 2 cherry trees and 2 bare root roses, so a trip to buy $10 worth of seeds quickly turned a lot more expensive!
I put the planted seeds in our sunroom and was somewhat surprised to see that most of them are actually growing. It probably would have been better had I bothered to label which seeds I planted where, but I guess I'll figure it out.
The larger pot is an "Italian Herb Garden" mix with fennel, oregano and basil. I also planted summer squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts, artichokes, and I think some lettuce.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

I am enjoying the new show "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution", although parts of it make me feel very frustrated. The premise of the show is that celebrity chef Jamie Oliver goes to a town in Wes t Virginia (chosen because it is the "unhealthiest city in America"), and tries to educate the people there about eating real food.
One family had a week's worth of the food that they ate laid out in front of them. Not a green thing on that table. All brown fried, or beige. Their entire freezer was full of cheap frozen pizzas. After a trip to the Dr where the whole family learned that they were very unhealthy, they vowed to change their habits. When Jamie went back afew weeks later, they claimed that there were eating healthy, but there were an awful lot of fast food cups laying around the house.
The main focus is on healthier school lunches, which Jamie has done a lot of work with in the UK. It's sad how resistant some people are to the idea, and how some people seem to truly have no idea. The schools don't have the funding to server fresh food, because the government subsidizes processed junk. The cafeteria workers in the show don't want to do the extra work involved with fresh food. Much easier just to slice open the plastic bag of chicken nuggets and dump them on the tray to bake.
I only allow our kids to buy lunch at school once a week, because it's all processed and canned junk. They don't offer as many sugary desserts as they did when I was a child, but a typical fruit serving is canned peaches in heavy syrup. French fries are considered a vegetable, according to USDA guidelines.
Hopefully this show will stir up more interest in healthier school lunch fare, and educate people that fresh food is better for you than things that come out of a box from the freezer, with a mile long ingredient list containing items that one would need a chemistry degree to decipher.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Eager to start gardening

It's been warm (50s and 60s) for the past week, and the sun has been shining! I"m feeling the urge to garden, but it's still almost 2 month away from being safe to do any real planting of vegetables and flowers. Mother's Day is usually the benchmark, though we had frost after Mother's Day last year.
I decided to go to Lowe's and buy afew seeds to start indoors. Once I got there I also decided that I needed some pots, some bare root roses, some cherry trees.... $7 worth of seeds turned into $120, but that's the way it goes sometimes I guess!
The cherry trees are pretty big and look healthy. We've tried planting cherry trees before with dismal results, but I think the place we tried them just isn't a good spot. These will go on the other side of the property, near my $10 Big Lots dwarf pear tree that has flourished despite being almost completely neglected.
I got some little peat moss, plastic covered "greenhouses" and planted broccoli, spinach, artichokes, romaine, squash and some sunflowers, plus basil, fennel, and oregano in another pot. We'll see what happens. I tend to lose interest in seeds as time goes by. I usually buy most of our vegetable plants as established seedlings At Pettitti Garden Centers in Tallmadge Ohio ( They always have a nice selection of vegetable plants.
Last year a persistent groundhog decimated all of our cruciferous veggies and lettuce, so we have to re fence the garden this year before planting.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sweet Potato Citrus Cupcakes

2 leftover baked sweet potatoes and a box of lemon cake mix were my inspiration for these light and airy cupcakes. You can frost them as much or as little as you would like. I prefer just a little because I don't think that they need much, but the frosting recipe makes enough that you can add more if you wish. Without frosting, they would be great as breakfast/brunch muffins.
Simple to make, the sweet potato makes them moist enough that you don't even need to use any oil.

1 18.25 oz box lemon cake mix
1 1/3 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups baked sweet potatoes, mashed (about 2 medium sweet potatoes)
3 eggs

1 8 oz package cream cheese (softened)
5 cups confectioners sugar

2 tbsp orange zest (optional for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350. Line two 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners. Combine cake mix, orange juice, sweet potatoes and eggs in mixer bowl. Beat for 30 seconds on low, then 2 minutes on medium.
Spoon equal amounts batter into muffin cups.Bake for 18-22 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes then frost as desired.
To make frosting - combine cream cheese and sugar in mixer bowl, beat on low until combined.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ready for Spring

I am not one of those people who lives in Ohio and complains incessantly about winter. I love the change of seasons, but at the end of every season, I start to get antsy for the next one. I've reached that point with winter. The seed/plant catalogs are arriving in droves and I'm deciding what I want to order and plant. Cant' wait for the flowers to start blooming, and we are going to try our hand at beekeeping this year. For today, I need a little color!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Maple Bacon Sweet Potato Soup

I wanted to do a different twist on a baked potato soup. Sweet potatoes pack a great nutritional punch, so I'm always looking for new ways to fit them into the family menu. Use REAL maple syrup for this, not "pancake syrup". Meat lovers will want to use pork bacon, but I use turkey bacon and it works just fine.

Maple Bacon Sweet Potato Soup

12 strips bacon (plus extra for optional garnish if desired)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup chopped sweet onion
5 cups peeled sweet potatoes, chopped in 1” cubes
2 14 oz cans Chicken Broth
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 cup maple syrup (plus extra for garnish if desired)
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Fry bacon until crisp, drain, crumble in small pieces and set aside.
Melt butter in a large stick pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sautee for 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and Swanson broth. Bring to a boil, then Simmer on low for approx 20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.
Carefully transfer portions of the mixture to a blender and puree. When all batches are pureed, return them to the pot. Add the bacon, liquid smoke, maple syrup, evaporated milk, salt and pepper. Stir over medium until heated through.
Ladle into individual bowls. If desired, garnish with a spiral of drizzled maple syrup and sprinkle of crumbled bacon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tangy Lemon Pepper Crab Salad Dip with Tortilla Crisps

A foot of snow this weekend has me thinking towards summer. We met the little guy above on Assateague Island several years ago.
This summery recipe was a Dannon yogurt contest winner for me awhile back.

2 cups canned or fresh crab, drained and cartilage removed
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped sweet pickles
1 cup Dannon plain yogurt
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tbsp lemon juice, divided
1 1/2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning, divided
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder, divided
6 Burrito size flour tortillas
4 tbsp butter

In a large bowl, combine crab, onion, pickles, yogurt, sour cream, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning, old bay & 1 tsp garlic powder. Combine thoroughly and refrigerate.
In microwave safe bowl, melt butter in microwave (30-45 seconds). Add remaining tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp lemon pepper & 1/2 tsp garlic. Mix. Brush tortillas with butter mix. Cut tortillas into wedges with a pizza cutter, and Bake in 400 degree preheated until they reach desired crispness (approx 10 minutes).

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Easy Focaccia Bread

This is one of those recipes that tastes/looks like you put a whole lot more effort into it than you actually did. You can use either homemade pizza dough (my favorite crust recipe is listed under pizza in the label section) or refrigerated dough. I never have any leftovers when I make this!

Fresh or refrigerated pizza dough
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup Italian salad dressing
2 tsp Italian seasoning
3/4 fresh grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly oil a pizza stone with the olive oil. Spread the dough on the stone, and made indentations in it with the tip of a wooden spoon. Pour on the dressing and spread it over the crust. Sprinkle with italian seasoning, then the grated cheese.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Slice into wedges and serve.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Red Pepper Shrimp Linguini / Dei Fratelli Tomatoes

Afew months ago I was a winner in a Dei Fratelli Tomatoes contest for my recipe for Red Pepper Shrimp Linguini. Spicy and easy to prepare, I make this all the time. The less mess I have to make, the better sometimes, and only 2 pots are needed for this one.
My prize from the contest was a box of Dei Fratelli products every month for a year, and I just got my first one yesterday. There were other items in the box (like salsas) that were spirited off by my family before I could take a photo, but I will definitely make use of every item. This brand is one of my favorites as they use real food ingredients. No high fructose corn syrup, no need for a chemistry degree to decipher the label.

Red Pepper Shrimp Linguini

  • 1/3 cup Olive oil
  • 1 cup White onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup Red bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. Rosemary
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Black pepper
  • 3/4 cup Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 14.5 oz. can Dei Fratelli Chopped Italian Tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds Fresh large shrimp, cleaned and deveined, tail on (can substitute thawed frozen cooked shrimp)
  • 1 pound Linguini, cooked al dente per package instructions

Heat oil in large pot with lid. Add onion, peppers, garlic, basil, oregano, rosemary, salt, pepper and mushrooms. Sautée over medium heat 5 minutes. Add tomatoes. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp and simmer until shrimp is pink and hot (if using frozen cooked shrimp, approx 5 minutes to heat through). Toss with cooked pasta

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Baked Potato Crab Cake Appetizers

This recipe was a recent runner up winner for me in a contest sponsored by Wisconsin Potatoes (the photo is from their website). Doing some experimenting, I discovered that baked potatoes are a great way to stretch expensive crab meat, the mild potato flavor combines well with the crab and seasonings, and it really helps to hold the crabcakes together.
Serve with lemon slices, tartar sauce and cocktail sauce if you like.

3/4 cupfinely diced sweet onion
1 tbspminced garlic
2 tbspolive oil (divided)
3 cupscrabmeat (canned or fresh)
2large baked potatoes, peeled & mashed with fork
2 tbspdill pickle relish
1 tspsalt
1/2 tsppepper
2 tbsp Old Bay
seafood seasoning
1/2 cupmayonaise

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In med. skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil, sautee onion and garlic over medium heat until soft. Approx. 5 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine crab, potato, relish,old bay, mayo , salt/pepper, & onion/garlic mix.
  4. Form into 24 crabcakes
  5. Place on nonstick or lightly sprayed cookie sheet. Drizzle with remaining olive oil.
  6. Bake approx. 15 minutes until they are lightly brown.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Herbed Chicken with Ginger Stone Fruit

Another recent contest win was a contest sponsored by Genji Marinades. This contest had a nice prize (gift certificate to Whole Foods), plus the added bonus that they used my own photo of the dish on the website when they published the recipe.
I like to combine fruit and herbs to create sweet and savory dishes. If you can't get the marinade, balsamic vinegar or another Asian ginger type dressing can be substituted.

Herbed Chicken with Ginger Stone Fruit

2 cups peeled and sliced peaches
1 cup sweet pitted cherries, halved
1/4 cup diced shallots
3 pounds bone in chicken pieces (legs, breasts, thighs)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp fresh chopped sage
2 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 tbsp fresh chopped marjoram
1/2 tbsp fresh thyme
4 tbsp butter, chopped in cubes

Glaze - 3/4 cup Ginger Miso Dressing, 1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. Combine peaches and cherries. Arrange on the bottom of a 5 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with shallots. Arrange chicken on top of carrots. Season chicken with salt, pepper, sage, rosemary, marjoram and thyme. Top chicken pieces with butter cubes.
In a medium bowl, combine glaze ingredients. Pour over chicken. Bake at 350 approx 1 hour or until chicken is golden brown.