Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rosemary Focaccia and Book Giveaway!


You would think I have not cooked or baked anything in the last couple weeks since I've been staying at my son's house watching their 16yr. old sweet Black Lab named Thai whom I thought was still only 13yrs old. She is actually going to be 17, and still going strong...although she is practically deaf, has major cataracts, but is as beautiful and sweet, with a shiny black  hair her tummy totally grey now, and in the best shape ever (meaning she is not overweight)...Family finally came home last night, and I'm so happy that they all had such a great time.
I, in the meantime have been eating at my daughter's house and enjoying company with Fabrizio's young cousins from Italy. Two lovely young girls, ages 18 and 20. Lora and I were taking turns cooking the main meal at lunch time, and also for dinner. I decided to make my favorite rosemary focaccia...with lots of fresh chopped focaccia, homegrown from their little garden. I've been trying to find a decent photo of this, but what difference does it make?...not even trying to get into the Top 9 for Foodbuzz, so "what you see is what you get"...it is what it is!!!
Sometimes I prefer a nice simple focaccia instead of pizza, because it does take less work and you don't even need a topping other than fresh herbs. The dough is so fresh, the topping is crunchy, and I also added fresh course sea salt on the top before I baked it. I love course sea salt, and also love salted bagels, but have to watch the sodium, because that can bloat you and too much of a "good thing" can harm your health!

Before I continue the rest of this post regarding rosemary focaccia, I would like to offer a very nice and unique book giveaway...another "thrift find" which is by the way a brand new book that I happened to find at my favorite Goodwill store. A few of you have it already a giveaway gift, from other bloggers, so now it's my turn to offer it as a giveaway since I do not bake in small quantities but I did want to get this book for a chance to offer it to someone that really could use it!

You honestly don't have to do a thing...it only applies to followers of my blog. Very simple! You have till Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 11:00PM EST. to reply on my blog, and I will use Random.org to determine the winner, and will ship ANYWHERE else, outside United States and Canada. Now isn't that a nice offer? So drop me a few lines, and let me know if you're interested in  this wonderful Small-Batch Baking book!


True Random Number Generator




Min:

Max:

Result:


14


Powered by RANDOM
...and the winner is, Suhaina

Congratulations...I will contact you by e-mail!
Thanks to all of you for your participation, and support!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ziti with fresh Tomatoes, and Zucchini

I still have some photos of my $ 1.00 thrift find bag of mixed vegetable, that I did't get to post about in the last few months. Now, that I'm back and forth to my place from my son's house, I rarely get a chance to do much other than taking care of the pets, (mine, and his)...not much chance for cooking or baking.
Good thing I went to check on my place because I came home to a surprise...a flood of water gushing from my A/C unit ceiling all soaked. Good thing I wasn't sleeping there because I turned the A/C and called the service first thing in the morning.
Really there's no set recipe for this wonderful sauteed mixed zucchini, squash, onions, and blanched chopped fresh tomatoes, served over a pasta of your choice, I used ziti pasta.This is one of my favorite vegetarian pasta dish!
I could easily have at least 3 or 4 vegetarian meals a week...eating something so healthy and delicious like these veggies! When we were kids, growing up in Cleveland in the late fifties and mid sixties, I remember my mom only made a meat dish about once or twice a week on the weekend...everything was prepared in season, and canned for the winter. Homemade breads, rolls, danishes were not an option, it was made regularly, just as homemade noodles. As a nation, we have consumed way too much meats over the decades...time to slow it down a bit and eat what mother nature produces for us!
Last night I did  not feel like doing much, just cleaned out my son's refrigerator, and defrosted one of my pizza crust that I make ahead of time to freeze, thaw out and bake...I  topped it off with caramelized onions, fresh tomato sauce fresh basil leaves and crispy fried and crumbled pancetta...thick sliced chopped bacon is OK to use in place of pancetta. Just because you're spending time alone, does not mean that you cannot treat yourself to something homemade and delicious. If you don't want to make your own dough, you can get fresh bread dough in the bakery section of your supermarket. It's that easy!
Here's the source I used for my pizza dough, since I'm not posting from my home, I didn't have my personal pizza recipe with me. This is an excellent recipe...Epicurious always has the BEST of all the recipes!
Did you ever see such gorgeous clouds in your life?...only in South Florida you get to see the sun going through such a transition...the sun, perching through the clouds in late afternoon that looks like a huge marshmallow, the palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze. (a view from my beach condo apt.) ...as I was leaving to go back across the bridge, just a matter of a 10 min. drive passing through A1A route taking a slow drive, and almost wanting to stop the car to take a few pictures of Rod Stewart's well hidden mansion...but it's just a dream, that I would ever even enter in one of these mansions!

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

LongBoards Restaurant Grand Opening!

First and most important, I would like to express my appreciation to all of you for all you kind comments, and support on my blog, If I have not done the same for you please let me know in e-mail and "chew me out" if I have not been supportive enough, I will try harder!
I am spending most of my days and nights here at my son's, while they are away in NYC, and upstate New York for 2 weeks. I do go home every day as well, to feed my kitties and spend a couple hours with them.
I'm sure they miss me, as I miss them, and things will be back to normal by next week. During the day, I spend my time at Lora's (daughter) who only lives a few blocks away. It's always an adventure with Lora and my grandchildren...so much fun. Every day there's always a project...can't alway keep up with them. They ar always on the go. If I would start telling you the day-to-day routine, it would take up an entire post for my blog, so I will share something which is quite unique....instead!
There was a new restaurant opening in downtown West Palm Beach, Florida, a couple weeks ago. I was anxiously waiting to go there with my son, Joe, and wife Cara, and a two buddies of my son. No children allowed becauce it was such a "madhouse" opening, and the place was packed like "sardines"...and why not?
(In the video, those kids must have been the owner's kids.)
 All the appetizers were free, and you were allowed 2 or 3 free drinks. They handed you 2 or 4 genuine sea glass when you entered at the door...that was your token for the drinks that you gave back when they brought you the drinks.
In the meantime, as we arrived in West Palm Beach, there was an old car show right smack in the middle of 
Clematis Road, downtown. They were featuring cars from the fifties and sixties...of course my favorite was a beautiful red Chevy, I think from 1967...will get to that, as I am taking you on the tour. These were all the pictures that I took with my camera. The theme for "Longboards" is really about a surfer restaurant, tha is one and only in Palm Beach County. My son's artwork on surfboards that is his side hobby is all shown here.
They are all hanging, and adorning this cool place. We'll get to that also!
You'll have to forgive me, I have no idea of the make of these cars, I only know so far that the very first car oln top of the page is a 1959 Cadillac...they sure don't make cars like that any more, with all the expensive chrome and beautiful workmanship...OK...moving on!
I think this is a 1955 Buick...but I could be wrong!
I love this car the most...always have. A 1967 SS Chevy!
Wow...just look at the engine of this "baby"...need I say more?
Now that's a cool old Chevy truck!
Now, the fun begins...this is the entrance of the restaurant...as you can see, there's also a band outside across from the restaurant!
This is the first surf board that was hanging on the wall as we entered. Sargent Pepper, The Beatles, is feautered on here. My son Joe designed and painted these surfboards (but not the nude woman surfboard in the video)...Joe just came up with this concept a couple years ago. He is a fantastic artist, and writer. He published his first novel, and is working on the second.
This is the second surf board...A Hawaiian design!
This is one of my favorite of my son's work. I love the ocean view...the little people, and the palm trees!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Simple One Bowl Brownies...and more Awards!

Since my daughter Lora came back from Italy recently...I had about 2 nights of sleep in my own place, my poor kitties hanging around me and sleeping on my bed, which my little Persian hardly ever does except if it's storming outside, that can also be the reason why she snuggle up at the foot of my med on her very own little pillow.
Now, I'm back again house and dog sitting for a beautiful black Lab at my son's house only a few blocks away from my daughter, and myself. They are off to NY city, and to the country in NY state for two weeks. After all, d-in-law Cara's family resides in NY...so more the reason to visit! BTW-if any of you friends out there need a good pet sitter out there, just give me a holler...LOL, I'm getting really good at this for the last few years now.
I'm really good company for pets...dogs, or cats...they understand my "language" and actually really miss me when I leave, but in this case I don't go far.
This is the simplest one-bowl brownie you'll ever make, and this time I drizzle a simple sugar glaze on it, and just made a design with a fork to pull to one side...but you have to work fast with the design, as you can see the sugar glaze hardens really fast, which is good, because your don't want it to be a sticky gooey mess.
After you have the ingredients mixed in one bowl, all you have to do is to pour the batter into an aluminum lined 8x8 bake pan and bake for no longer than 20 minutes for a fudgy result...I baked it for 25 minutes, not so dense and overly fudgy!


Simple One Bowl Brownies
adapted from All Recipes.com

4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2. Microwave chocolate and butter or margarine in large bowl at HIGH for 2 minutes or until butter or margarine is melted.
3. Stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and nuts
4. Spread in greased 8 x 8 inch pan. Bake for 20- 25 minutes (do not over bake).

For the glaze:
I used 1 cup powdered sugar, and 1 Tbsp of whole milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Just mix all together in a small bowl, with a fork, and drizzle over top of the brownies after you have cut them. Important to cut the brownies first, so drizzle will not be messed up, You can see in the above photo, how I did, and also made design with fork pulling in one motion. By the time I got to the last row, the glaze had already dried...so it's a good sign.)


My spoiled and pampered kitties...home alone!
I have to apologize to you all for not being able to upload...or even copy and paste the second award I wanted to pay forward to you...I am working on my son Joe's computer, and apparently he has a tight security system where it prohibits, copying, and pasting...although I was able to finally upload the award after a few attempted mistakes, but now I don't know which file I put it into. (I'm in so much trouble when son finds this...LOL)...at some point I will be going to my place to check on my kitties, and will try to upload it from mine, and pay it forward!
Finally did go to my place, and was able to copy and paste the award...will pay it forward...actually getting there, now!





 ...and now, for the 2nd award received from Purabi, Cosmopolitan Currymania...thank you Purabi!


I would like to pay forward to 15 bloggers this really nice award...congratulations...well deserved! I do apologize for missing out others, but I still have one more award from Purabi!
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Petra

mellissina2


Mari


Christine's Pantry


marisz57

Claudia-What's Cookin' Italian Style Cuisine

Magic of Spice

mangiabella

Junia

Parsley Sage

Sandra

Kathy


SKIP TO MALOU

Quay Po Cooks

Chic & Gorgeous Treats

Friday, July 15, 2011

Chicken Paprikash...and Awards!

Whenever I crave for something that is a perfect comfort food that I know my entire family will like, I tend to turn towards my Hungarian favorite, which really does not need a recipe... knowing that I learned to make this delicious sauteed chicken in a rich paprika-sour cream sauce from my Hungarian "roots" from my mom, who was actually born in Transylvania (yes there is such a country, not just a myth)...it is and has been part of Romania for nearly a century now, after World War 1.
This special and true Hungarian dish is known world-wide to be an authentic Hungarian "staple" dish that is now just tossed aside in the culinary world...so sad! The way I see it in the "new wave" cooking, it doesn't even get listed as a "top 10".
I learned to make it the authentic way...even before I knew how to cook. Normally I would add the hot Hungarian wax pepper, which here in the states called "banana pepper?"...wonder why? Sure doesn't taste like a banana, it sure doesn't look like a banana, just because it's long and yellow?...that is absurd...again also...why do they even call it Hungarian wax pepper?...Do they wax it?...just the thought of that grosses me out!
At any rate, this is a simple, and easy way to make it...as long as you use authentic imported Hungarian Paprika, hot, or sweet...it's your choice!
I did not bother to do a step-by-step instructions on this...was not even going to take photos of this because I made this in a hurry, with my family telling me "we're starving"...so typical!

Do check out my friend Angie' blog @ Angie's Recipes, her delicious version of her Paprika Chicken. While you're there, browse through her blog and marvel at her many beautiful and yummy line up of entrees, and desserts, and do say hello!
I love to serve this awesome chicken paprikash with spaetzle...which is a little tedious to make so I usually serve it with wide egg noodles, or in the case with orechiette pasta. This was so delicious and we even had it for lunch the next day!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Italian Restaurant, at the Breakers Hotel

First things first! This is a restaurant review that I want to share with you...no, I didn't make this amazing Shrimp Scampi, gigantic shrimp, served on a bed of fresh steamed baby spinach, and fresh diced tomatoes, in a delicious wine and butter garlic sauce. This was my choice for the entree!

My family and I enjoyed a wonderful evening at the Breakers Hotel, in Palm Beach...our favorite little Italian restaurant on the premises, at the gorgeous hotel. Kids friendly...they have a play room for the little kids, and also a fun arcade that even the bigger ones enjoy so much
.
http://www.thebreakers.com/restaurants_lounges/the_italian_restaurant/

Steamed Mussels...my son Joe's favorite, that we all shared...this was an appetizer...great choice!
A personalized pizza for my d-in-law, Cara...asparagus, shrimp, and olives...yummy pizza with such a great crust! The girls had their kids menu..their favorite, chicken fingers, made with chicken tenders, and fried crispy, and golden, with their favorite french fries.
For dessert, Cara chose the caramel apple tartlet, with almond ice cream and crunchy pieces of almonds.
My choice was the fresh berries with zabaglione...so perfect with the fresh berries..yumm!
My granddaughters favorite choice was the Brownie Sundae...just look at the perfect fudge brownie and creamy vanilla brownie...drizzle with fudge sauce...a chocolate lover's dream dessert!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan...and a Beautiful Garden!

I'm sure you are all familiar with eggplant Parmesan...so I will not go into a lengthy recipe with this, other than my simple "tried and true" method, and somewhat a step-by-step direction. Last week, I decided to use up my much needed "attention" eggplants that were just sitting lonely in the fridge box...looking almost sad after more than one week. Don't get me wrong, they were not spoiling or anything else, but I'm not like my daughter Lora, piling up on veggies, and day after day making something healthy out of them like she does.
That's why she stays skinny...LOL even when she will be returning from Italy, maybe she gains about 5 lbs. and every time I travel, I come back gaining 15 lbs. and it takes several months to get rid of it.

I'm linking my Eggplant Parmesan to:
Foodie Friday # 16 @Little Brick Ranch


So while I'm house sitting, I hope Lora sees my post on her I-Pad that I really took care of her basil that Teresa planted...aren't they gorgeous...but wait, there's more!
With all the drought we had, we've been literally praying for rain here, in South Florida, but now, for the last week it's been raining every single day...prayers do WORK for positive results. This little rosemary plant nearly died, now I'm going to plant it in a bigger pot, or in the ground so it could flourish, and grow bigger.

As you can see more basil plant, more oregano, a different type, and some Mexican oregano....love it!

A beautiful aloe plant...planted by Lora's dad...that was a tiny plant...thanks to the glorious Florida climate for this wondrous plant that "cures all" it has so many good uses, including for your skin, and to drink a refreshing aloe juice that would cost so much to buy!
Another beautiful Sicilian plant...planted by Lora's dad (my ex-hubby)...he has the "green thumb" for plants, and so does Teresa...I just take care of these beautiful plants!
The Bougainvillea, we have to give credit to Fabrizio for! (Lora's hubby)...he plants them all over the house, and they just flourish...such happy, and beautiful plants....such a wonderful garden to relax, and enjoy!
Another Bougainvillea, in the back yard...also, one on the front, which I didn't even take photo of yet! A
bird of paradise tree behind it at Dr. Eric's yard...peeking through!
Just look at the swimming pool, Fabrizio will be proud when he sees that I make sure the pool gets well maintained. It has an automatic vacuum cleaner that cleans it every day...no chlorine used in this pool, it's salt added to the pool...automatically feeding in. Wouldn't you want to "house sit" under this kind of beautiful scenery every morning you wake up, "sunshine" greets you, birds singing, and such a quiet neighborhood!
This tropical beauty divides the property, from the back neighbor's yard...you can see a little part of the fence...otherwise it's all lush green!
There's no reason not to have beautiful herbs, plants, trees, when you live in a tropical climate as we do...it's a matter of taking care of them, and caring for them, as if they could understand that you do. Take care of
nature's glorious gifts...and you will be greatly rewarded by their abundance of giving you much more!