Monday, July 26, 2010

Cooking on a boat

I'm so happy to have saved these menus from the trip our family took to the BVI's....16 years ago- how it can be so long ago?! We sailed on a 70 ft. boat.
It was one of the best family vacations we took; but they all seemed extraordinaire. And this one, we chartered a boat that had a captain, a cook, and a third mate. Our 5 boys were all beginning to 'assert themselves' and the thought of being with our oldest, who was 13 at the time, seemed like we entering a doomed chapter. Au contrair! Captain Dan and mate Christy, our cook, had us all entertained. The toys!! We didn't need much to entertain ourselves and our environment was so much for any of us to take in.
I want to share with you our weekly menus- and these meals were made 16 years ago and we made our boys eat or at least try. I wonder if Christy is still cooking like this....miss these people; they were so wonderful to us.
Our breakfasts were all made to order so the boys had some freedom!
Red Snapper with coconut milk in parchment paper with Banana Sauce
Stir fry vegetables
Tomato Pasta

Monday lunch
Chicken slices over lettuce, cucs, croutons
potatoes, apples, vegetables with creamy dressing

Monday Dinner
Shrimp skewered over Tuna
Flaming Plantains
Roast potatoes and onions
Honey Carrots
dessert: can't remember!

Tuesday lunch
homemade pizza
salad: red cabbage with raisins, carrots, pecans, apples
Tuesday dinner
steak with red potatoes stuffed with sour cream and bacon
Baked tomatoes in foil with melted cheese

Wednesday lunch
Pasta with chicken and bacon in a sauce
Spinach salad

Wednesday dinner
Vegetable Kebobs
BBQ chicken
Tuna steaks
potatoes with cheddar and chives, mint, thyme, parsely

Thursday lunch
Turkey/cream cheese sandwich with jam
Spinach salad with big red strawberries
Thursday dinner
Pork Roast with pineapple sauce over rice
Plantains in tomato garlic sauce
Battered Broccoli
Minted Mousse

Friday lunch
steak salad
marinated tomatoes with cheese

Friday dinner
Swordfish with Mango salsa
Bean dip
Molded couscous
sauteed yellow zucchini
chocolate pecan tart

Saturday dinner ( I forgot Saturday's lunch! Maybe we had it in town)
Veal with tomato basil sauce
pesto pasta
parmesan cheese cauliflower
white chocolate bread pudding

Sunday lunch
pineapple, tuna pizza
Prosciutto, pepperoni pizza

Sunday dinner
Lamb roast stuffed with goat cheese
Boiled Potatoes
red beet fritters
sauteed sweet potatoes ( in Hennessey)

Special memories, new family expressions, and an intro to fine food!

Menu for July 26

I found a great recipe on MixingBowl and made it for the family this weekend so it's going on my menu for this week!
Sausage Cheese Balls with warm Tomato Vinaigrette
Zucchini and Ricotta Galette
Caesar Salad
Butterscotch Mousse

BBQ Chicken
Tomato stuffed with Cilantro Pesto and smoked almonds
Fruit Bowl
Chocolate Crepes with Strawberries

Fried Chicken
Sour cream dilled Cucmbers
Italian Herb Pretzels
and I'm still working on this. I think I'll see what's left in the fridge.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Shorewood Rapids Part 2

A YouTube video some kids took from my hometown, Milwaukee. Ok, so it's Shorewood. Whitefish Bay is between my burb, Fox Point and Shorewood. Check out the red car, about 3/4 of the way into the video~

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A refreshing Summer Gazpacho

This is so easy! It takes 30 minutes to blend and chill but I let it blend longer as I didn't know it was going to be so easy to prepare! It is a great soup for your summer vegetables. You can even add other vegetables. It's a good recipe for your "kitchen sink" !

Serves 4

Prep time: 30 minutes
Chill time: 30 minutes

2 pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped, plus 1 contrasting-color heirloom tomato for garnish
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/3 cup parsley leaves
1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
1 small jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped
1 cup ice cubes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a food processor, combine 2 pounds tomatoes and garlic; puree until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.

In the food processor, combine cucumber, bell pepper, parsley, onion, jalapeño, and ice; puree to a slightly chunky texture. Add to the bowl with tomato mixture. Stir in oil, vinegar, and salt. Transfer gazpacho to a covered container and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Just before serving, cut remaining tomato into small dice. Divide gazpacho among 4 shallow bowls, top with diced tomato, and serve.

Nutritional information:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Menu for the week

If I didn't have the terrible luck with Internet, I'd be posting nearly everyday.ARGH!!!
I'm finally able to sign on so I'm going to post my 3 menus for the week:
Grilled Summer Chicken Salad
Sweet Potato Fries
Fresh corn taken off the cob
Cherry Pie

Taco Salad
Pear Salad with Feta and Bacon
Chocolate Bread Pudding

BBQ Pork/lamb
Roasted Zucchini
Avocado and Pine Nut Salad
Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Island Party

Over the weekend, my husband and I were invited to one of the most fun parties~ Of course, I'm easy. I love it when someone invites me over. All my friends have a fun flair for entertaining. I guess that's why they are friends! Now back to this recent party~ First of all, can you judge a person by their shoes?? Anyone who can wear these fun shoes, well, they just have to be fun people! Can you see the rattan heels? Glad I had my camera!

Our hostess greeted us with mai tais in a watermelon. Again, the presentation was darling. A big round watermelon, carved at the top, cleaned out. All around the outside, holes were made for straws that were inserted and also decorated with the little paper umbrellas with our names on them.

I have a picture of her attractively presented pot stickers.

On porcelain spoons she served us a tuna and avocado mixture. It was nice and cold, a nice contrast to the humid night air. We continued to enjoy asparagus that were served with a wasabi sauce, and miniature cups filled with....well that was a delicious secret. Because the next time they have a party and invite us- she'll know we'll cancel anything in our way to be invited again. Not really. But you get the drift.
There were other little nibbles everywhere for us while we entertained each other with throwing inflatable hoops into a parrot...... a picture is worth a thousand words.

Her table setting were so pretty. And as the evening sky turned dark, the pretty Italian lights everywhere just made us feel younger! She wrote each of our names in Hawaiin and we had to guess which was was ours. Fun!! Dinner was outside and started with a chilled cucumber dill soup with shrimp, served in pots de creme. Another good use for those things! Our entree, the plate was beautiful. A grilled pineapple slice ( loved the small size which our hostess said it was right out of the can. No wonder the size was perfect! ) and it was attractively topped with mashed sweet potato. Also on the plate was a tulip bowl with a mango salsa and the meat was grilled pork medallions. Tender and so moist! You didn't even have to use the accompanying citrus sauce. But why pass up anything at this beautiful party!?

Dessert was served indoors- good idea in case we got too rowdy for that 11pm curfew! At each place was a plate with a coffee cup, a chocolate cup and a cocktail glass filled with orange sorbet and red cherry sorbet. Our hostess then passed coconut truffles which she made- omg, along with some type of cracker but was actually a cookie and had chocolate bits on it!

But the games didn't stop outside! At the table our hostess gave us a Hawaiin expression and we had to guess it's interpretation. Our hostess also gave a door prize to the guest who won the most points throughout the night- just what any person would want!

Oh! Did I forget to mention the great music they had playing? Just great!!!
It was quite late when we left and all the men at this party had to be up very early. On top of that, we all had to make sure we got home safely and navigate away from the YOU KNOW WHOs! We all made it home safely. And very happy!

Pizza joint

Over the weekend, my husband and I tried out a pizza place that was recommended to him. It's a quaint neighborhood kind of place. Nothing fancy at all. Looks like a bar inside but it's full of tables.
We used to be fans of deep dish pizza but we could never finish the pie. Besides, thin crust we easy to finish off. The restaurant we went to has the BEST crispy, deep dish we have ever had! They call their pizza caramelized deep dish pizza. But I think they call it caramelized to get away with the really burned edges which they might have to do to finish off the pizza. Regardless, the rest of the pizza is really, really good!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Backyard Burger Bash

One night last week, I had to work a little late. One of my sons was bringing a few friends up to use the wave runners and I suggested making some burgers with recipes I found in our Chicago Tribune. I wish I had a picture of how the different stations were set up and what the burgers looked like when finished. I don't have a thing. But, I have to tell you, they were so delicious that it's worth writing about. The burgers we made were called:
Home on the Range, Blazin Barn Burger, Smoky Sweet Bacon Burger and an adapted version of Spike's Sunny Side Burger.
At each station a burger's ingredients were gathered and combined if the recipe called for it. One person was designated as the griller. When the burgers were done, they were delivered to each station. Each station master, assembled the burger and cut it into halves or quarters so everyone could sample each burger.So good!! Try any of all of these sometime. It's a great party theme for a backyard party!
Home on the Range Burger
¾ c mayo
¼ c sour cream
½ c parsley
1/3 c chives
2 tsp each: tarragon, garlic,
dab of anchovy paste ( in fridge on the door)
honey mustard ( for spreading on bun)
chopped salad mix
Your choice of cheese

Combine mayo, sour cream, parsley, chives, tarragon, anchovy paste, and garlic in FP; pulse to blend Transfer to bowl until needed.
Grill Burger, top with your choice of cheese during last 2 minutes of grilling. Spread mustard over the bun bottom and mayo over bun top. Put salad mix on bun bottom, top with burger. Add bun top

Blazin Barn Burger

2 large carrots, peeled, julienned
1 daikon radish, peeled, julienned
1 c each: white vnegar, sugar
¼ c water
½ c mayo
1/8 c sriracha chili sauce
1 T sweentened condensed milk
1 T each: chopped basil, cilantro

Put carrots and daikon in separate heat proof bowls. Heat vinegar, sugar and water to a boil in saucepan. Pour evenly over carrots and daikon; cool.
Blend mayo, srirachi and sweetened condensed milk. Mix basil and cilantro in a separate bowl.
Grill burger.
Place grilled burger on bottom of bun. Top each with drained carrot and dakon plus basil-cilantro mix. Spread mayo on bun top.
Smoky Sweet Bacon Burger

Smoky- Sweet Bacon Burger

1-2 strips bacon, cooked
1 granny smith apple- peeled and cored
¼ tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
maple syrup, crumbled blue cheese
( these last ingredients - add to taste)
Grill Burger

Grate the apple and pat out excess moisture with paper towel. Add rest of ingredients.
Grill burger.
On bun bottom, add lettuce leaf( optional), burger, bacon and apple mixture.

Spikes' Sunny Side Burger
( an egg is what makes it sunny sided, but I omitted this step)

Make a mixture of:
Mayo, ketchup, molasses, rice vinegar. On bun bottom, add sliced onion and tomato. Top with burger. Top the burger with the mixture. Add bun top. Let rest.
Grill burger. Top with cheese ( optional)

Peaches, Bacon and Blue cheese

I LOVE THIS! I had to share this with you. Bacon seems to be on so many lists and I really like food that is more pure and simple in taste. so, this recipe is adapted from Pillsbury's Peach and Bacon Bites.
I wanted to do something a little different for the holiday. I came up with the idea because of a desire to do something with bacon. And I discovered that all bacons do not bake the same. I knew that but when started rolling these, I wish I had 3 different kinds of bacon.

What was key in making these was to microwave the bacon so it's partially cooked through but still pliable. I did that. Then I took a small slice of blue cheese, a wedge of nectarine, with the skin on. I left the skin on because it was too slippery without it.

I put the small slice of blue cheese in the cavity of the nectarine and wrapped the half baked bacon around it. As you can see in the picture, a fatty piece of bacon curls too much and makes it more difficult to eat the item, neatly.

I made these before the holiday weekend and kept them in the fridge. And, I forgot about them! So much commotion, so much heat and so much to do these little things were forgotten. As the refrigerator emptied, I found these little surprises! That was like finding $20 in a pocket! So preheated the oven to 350 and when it was ready, I popped them in. I baked them till they were a little more baked, about another 12 minutes. They had to cool a little before enjoying. I shall probably make them again with a different kind of bacon.

Here is the recipe:

2 nectarines, cut into wedges ( approximately 12 pieces)
2 oz. blue cheese, cut into smaller slivers to fit nectarine cavity
12 strips of bacon
Preheat oven to 350.
Microwave bacon for 2-4 minutes depending on your power level. You want the bacon to be pliable.
Lay a nectarine wedge on a plate. Put a slice of blue cheese in the center of the nectarine wedge. Take a partially baked bacon strip and wrap it around the nectarine. Hold in place with a toothpick. Continue doing this with all the slices.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Cool before eating.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Holiday Desserts

I had to add this pretty dessert my sister made for the holidays. She's quite the baker- thank heavens for me!