Eggplant Sliders...... almost

Interesting week, weather-wise.  On Tuesday evening we were able to sit outside enjoying a good dinner as the temperatures were Springlike.   Seriously, we were in short sleeves the temperatures were so nice.  We had the Thermacell on because of the mosquitoes so it was certainly warm enough for those blood suckers.  Then today, Thursday, I am wearing a scarf and pea coat to ward off the cold damp temperatures.  North Florida......it's hot, cold, cool, hot again in a 2 week span.

We planned a hearty meal for a cold night and decided to have Eggplant Parmesan, zucchini and homemade bread.  Yup - lots of carbs but it's also all natural, homemade chow.  I made enough for two dinners a lunch.

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The lunch was meant to be eggplant sliders but I didn't' get to the grocery store for Hawaiian rolls.  Those little things are so good.  (Putting it on the list to look for a copycat recipe)  We usually take our lunch as it's preferable to fighting lunch time crowds and also it's cost effective.  Plus there are crazy holiday shoppers out there now and the traffic is maddening.

Our workplace break rooms are blissfully quiet and empty this time of year.

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I have a few meals to share coming up, an update on books and a new acquisition, a Kindle Fire.  There is definitely a learning curve when all you've used are Apple products for 4 years.

Linking up with Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series. Check out the link up HERE and join in if you can. Also linking up with Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.



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Butternut Squash Soup

I'm fairly well pleased with the little things in life....such as the abundance of butternut squash in the market.  Yes!  It's so good roasted with apples and carrots and the leftovers make a fine soup.  Doug grilled a beautiful fillet of Golden Tile fish so I roasted veggies to go along for a side.


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The bonus for me was getting to use the food processor, I love that appliance, maybe best of all, but I don't get to utilize as much as I'd like.  Maybe the new year will have me setting goals to let the processor act as the work horse for chopping, soups and sauces. 

Anyway, after we enjoyed the roasted veg I dropped it in a processor and blitzed away until it was nearly smooth.  Next time I will make it smoother.  The taste was good, but it needed more broth.  So I'll do that next time.


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Butternut and Apple Soup

4 cuts Butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, sliced
2 apples, peeled and sliced
1 shallot, peeled and quartered
1/2 yellow onion, quartered
4 sprigs rosemary
a little bit of olive oil
salt and pepper
2 cups chicken broth (I used vegetable broth)
1/2 cup cream or Half-n-Half

Preheat oven to 450 F.  Peel and cut up veggies and arrange on rimmed baking sheet. Toss on rosemary and season with salt and pepper.  Now drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and mix up.

Roast for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  You can use the convection feature on your oven if you have it to speed things up.

Serve as a side dish or if you want to get right to the soup making, place all ingredients except rosemary into a food processor or blender.  Pulse until smooth, or as smooth as you'd like it.  Some folks like texture in this soup.

Add the vegetables to a pot with warmed broth and milk.  Cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
Serve with warm bread. Great lunch.  

Next time I will thin it out more but it surely was tasty to dip bread into a hot bowl of this soup.


 Linking up with Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sunday. The linkup is HERE.

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Ramblings about Pizza, Bonne Maman Jam, Books and more...
{The unexciting happenings at our place}

Reading and Watching:  Everyone has different taste when it comes to movies and books.  Obviously.  We just watched Hitman's Bodyguard and oh my, it was hilarious.  If you know anything about Samuel L. Jackson you will know the language is liberally laced with MF.  Because that's Samuel Jackson.  But it was a good laugh and we enjoyed it.  Waiting on Longmire season 5 and should get it in a few days.   Books - I just finished Catch me if you Can and it is 80% accurate with the movie.  Planning on starting up with a new (to me) author very soon - Michael Connelly.  He's been on my radar for a while.  Currently I have 7 books lined up on the Kindle.

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pizza
Eating
Pizza....I love pizza.  My favorite is at B.J.'s Pizza on St George Island but it's 2 hours away. (insert frowny face)

This giant slice of pizza here is from Momo's located in Tallahassee.  They advertise slices as big as your head and as you can see, it's very large.

 I left the fork on the plate as a point of reference on size.  Artichoke and mushrooms for me, Doug gets a different combo each time - sometimes pepperoni or mushrooms or sun dried tomatoes.










LuckyA jammy win from Bonne Maman!  I wasn't expecting a package but arrived home to find this surprise.  I love this jam, it's the best in regard to quality and consistency so....lucky me :-)  I need to make some English Muffin Toasting Bread for a delivery system for the jam,

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Thankful - I am always thankful for my family and our good health. I will never have enough years to share, plan, play and enjoy their company.  Looking forward to making more memories. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Missing the ones who are no longer with us.

Craving: Crab cakes and grits. I could make this, it just requires planning. My husband makes excellent cheese grits and I usually fry crab cakes for a dinner but grilling them may be an option next time. This beauty of a sandwich was had at Boss Oyster in Apalachicola. Florida.

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I am sharing this with Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series. Click HERE to see this week's linkup.  What is going on in your part of the world?  Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating.


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Fish Chowder to warm your bones

Quite a while back we decided to make a fish stew, the Mediterranean style with tomatoes. It was good but I have been craving a milk based version so.....here it is. Once again we saved leftover grilled fish. This is great for saving money as well as having a variety of white firm fish in the chowder.

Evidently if you make a milk or cream based soup it's called chowder. I learned this surfing the web for different takes on the "recipe."


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Easy as can be and it made a great dinner. I had made a baguette earlier in the day just to go with this chowder, splendid combination and definitely comfort food. Next time we may make it a seafood chowder and toss in some bay scallops.

Fish Chowder

2 cups onions
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1/2 cup white wine (optional - we used Chardonnay)
3 peeled and chunked Yukon potatoes
a bay leaf, salt and pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 1/2 cups cream (or Half-n-Half)
1 1/2 pounds white firm fish

Method

Saute onions in olive oil or butter. When they are soft add wine and turn up the heat until it reduces. Add potatoes and seasonings. The potatoes should be barely covered as they simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. Since I didn't have enough wine left to cover them I used vegetable broth. You could use chicken broth if you'd rather.

Heat the cream in a separate pot, be careful not to boil. By the way, Half-n-Half will boil quicker than real cream - consider that a warning! Just get it to steamy, not simmer and definitely not boiling. Now add the cream and the fish to the potato mix and cook another 10 minutes.

That's it. Add salt and pepper to your taste once it's served. This is a good chowder, we will be making it again.


I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series and Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series. Click HERE to see this week's linkup.


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Vegetarian Korma and a spider story
{Yikes!}

Man..... has it really been 11 days since I updated my everyday/foodie/life blog? Guess so.  It's been bookish posts lately and reading and cooking.  And bread making. Coming off such a nice time at the bayside has me dreaming about sitting by the water.....and not updating my online journal.

Well, to get back into a routine let me share this easy peasy Indian meal.  Yes, I did use a jarred sauce but sometimes a good quality jarred product is just the ticket.  More on that in a minute.

Let me tell you how I almost drove off the road last week. :-)

I am not a fan of spiders. Not at all. Last week we were heading to the park, I pulled down the sun visor and surprise! This fairly large brown spider drops on to the steering wheel. A scant 7 inches between me and scary brown spider.  If I see a spider on the ceiling or floor or counter I am prepared. Quick intake of breath, then a solid object is applied to extinguish said spider.

No time for all that!  I see it land (plummet actually), involuntary screech as my hands leave the wheel. Scared Doug, and probably Aja too, but fortunately I recovered enough to pull on to a dirt driveway. I'm out of the car in a flash looking for this thing everywhere. It probably went into a gap in the steering column. Let's hope it doesn't crawl out one day and go up a leg of my jeans.  You'll hear me screaming on the moon if that happens.

Ahem....so, here is the Korma.  So creamy with the coconut and spices.


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This is what I call a workday Korma because of the jarred sauce.  Sometimes you need a hot delicious meal on the table pronto.  There is still some chopping to do but I can get this served up in a half hour if I get right to it.  The key to convenience foods is using quality products.  Patak's is excellent, I love their sauces.


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Vegetarian Korma

2 medium potatoes, cut into small, bite-sized pieces
4 cups chopped vegetables (I used onions, garlic, cauliflower, carrots, red bell pepper and peas)
1 can chick peas (garbanzos), drained
1/2 cup cashews, optional
Korma sauce


INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and cook until tender. Mix in ginger and garlic, and continue cooking 1 minute. Mix potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, cashews, and 1/2 cup plain yogurt. Season with salt and curry powder. Cook and stir 10 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Toss in cashews now if you are adding them.
  1. Stir in peas, bell pepper, and sauce into the skillet. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro to serve.  Serve with warm naan.


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I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.

Sittin' on the dock of the bay............
{a pictorial post of our few days at the bay}

This photo below could sum up so much of our few days at the bay on St. George Island.

Relaxation.  I'm fairly sure we could live there. This was our dock at the rental and let me tell you, the water, sights and sounds were amazingly relaxing.

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We had several good photo opportunities from this dock.

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Each evening we were rewarded with beautiful sunsets. v3

The inside of the cottage was well appointed.  Nothing cheap here.  The furniture was in good shape, the mattress was fabulous, appliances in good condition...we wanted for nothing.  Not all rentals are this well kept up.  Wish we could buy it.

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 This hearth was raised up, just enough for me to catch my foot several times when passing by.  For Aja it was a taste of home as we have brick floors throughout our downstairs living area. Aja wasn't a fan of the wooden floors but she slowly got used to it.


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I loved the kitchen.

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 Whiskey Creek boat landing.

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Love them both!

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 Our old girl was ready to go home.  You can see the Apalachicola national forest through the window.  This is a quiet drive home, hardly any traffic.

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If we are lucky we can spend next Thanksgiving there but we will have to see how our annual leave situation works out.  We are also planning a trip to the mountains so....it's all about balance.

That's all I have for today.  Happy it's Friday and looking forward to this evening. 

Tell me about one of your favorite mini vacations, I like getting ideas from other folks!

Homemade Potato Soup and Croutons

Slowly but surely I will get a few photos uploaded of our time at the bay side.  But today, I wanted to share a homemade potato soup and croutons. Perfect for cool weather, I highly recommend it.

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I made homemade croutons and these were smashing in the soup.

There was a bit of leftover French loaf I made two days ago so I slather up two pieces with butter, crammed a bit of cheese in and made a rustic grilled cheese sandwich.

The ticket to success is letting this cool before cutting it into croutons. We were too hungry to wait :-)

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Potato Soup 

14 ounces of Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
1 TB butter
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Simply boil the potatoes for 15 minutes until soft.  Drain and mash with a large spoon.  You will want some chunks in there.

Melt butter then add the onion, garlic and celery.  10 minutes should make then soft but not browned.  Add potatoes, milk and broth.  Add seasonings.  Simmer until it's the thickness you'd like.

I made this from a recipe in the Cottage Cookbook, one I had just received in the mail. Of course I adapted it a bit, I always do.   It's a lovely book.  I reviewed it Novel Meals.

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I am linking up with Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series.  Linkup may be found  HERE.  Join in, it's fun to share!

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Rogan Josh And vacation

Hello to a short little vacation.  Much needed.  I don't have very much time to take off as I cashed in my leave when I went on DROP (retired ...kinda...in May).  But even a few days out of the office is special and needed.

We are spending a few days at St George Island but on the bay side this time. It's only a 2 hour ride and that makes it easier while traveling with Aja. Next year we want to head north to the Carolinas so that will require extra planning. Scoping out a place to retire and we like the mountains so that's a winning plan for us.

Vacation photos will be posted later in the week & I think I will start an album for them on iTunes as well. Not too familiar with how to do that but I may get a new phone and I don’t want to risk losing photos.

So, I Heart Cooking Club has a Potluck going on this week and I will link up with a Jamie Oliver version of Rogan Josh. As always I took liberties by adjusting ingredients to our taste.


Rogan Josh


Rogan Josh



Ingredients
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ⅓ cup (100g) rogan josh curry paste
  • ½ cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 15 ounce (400g) can crushed tomatoes
  • 15 ounce (400g) can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
  • ⅓ cup chopped coriander
  • 3 cups steamed rice 
  • ½ cup (150g) low-fat Greek-style yogurt, to serve
Method
Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium. Cook onion, stirring, for 3-4 mins, until softened. Add Rogan Josh curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute
Add cauliflower and zucchini and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, coating well. Add crushed tomato, chickpeas and ½ cup water. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Now reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 mins, until vegetables are tender. Stir in coriander.
Serve curry with rice and yogurt.


Pop over to I Heart Cooking Club and see what folks brought to Potluck. Click HERE.

By the way, I am doing this on a tablet and it’s not going smoothly, I guess some features are best to update on a real computer. Photos will be posted of the bay side accommodations later in the week.



Lime and Ginger Salmon with Coconut Rice

The word stalker tends to bring up alarming images so it's probably good not describe yourself as such.  But I have to say, stalking a great website gives it a positive spin.  We all have our favorite author sites, cooking sites, books and more, right?

I will confess to be a stalker of the retired site The Pie Patch.  Lucy is the owner of this site and she shared simple and tasty recipes.  I've not been disappointed with any of those I have tried so far.  She makes, in her words, " inexpensive, hearty food; non-faff and preferably with as little washing up as possible."  Now who could ask for more? 

Easy dinner prep is exactly what we need after working all day, picking up children from school, keeping the laundry baskets from overflowing and.....well, you get the idea.  My son is 28 so I'm not dealing with childcare any longer but there are those days when you are beyond tired on the way home from work.  This demands a meal that's simple to prepare.  

Here is one of those meals.  Lime and Ginger Salmon with Coconut Rice.

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You use foil to bake/steam the salmon so it's an easy cleanup.  The rice cooks while the salmon is in the oven.  Next time I am going to add more corn and peas to the rice. Definitely a keeper and will be on the meal rotations.

Here is a snap of the prep portion. Pretty, don't you think?

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Lime and Ginger Salmon & Coconut Rice
Salmon fillets
1 lime, sliced
Fresh ginger
4  green onions, chopped
Salt and pepper
Drizzle of olive oil
Coconut Rice

1 1/2 cups of long grain rice  
3 cups water 
1/2 cup coconut cream (I used Goya brand)
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
handful of peas and corn ( I probably used an overflowing half cup of each)

Directions
 Heat oven to 350 degrees F.   On a sheet pan lay out a large sheet of foil.  Place salmon fillets on the foil and top with green onions, sliced ginger, salt, pepper and a drizzle of oil. Place a slice of lime on top.  Fold the foil and seal but leave a vent hole for steaming.  Place in oven and bake 20 minutes.

Start the rice now.  Add water, corn and peas to the pot and heat to a boil.   Now add rice, salt, sugar and coconut cream. Stir it well and put on simmer, cover the pot.

My stove cooks on a higher heat so I had to watch it and give it a stir here and there.
Original recipe may be found at The Pie Patch HERE.  Thanks, Lucy!




Sharing with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series


Eggplant Sliders...... almost

Interesting week, weather-wise.  On Tuesday evening we were able to sit outside enjoying a good dinner as the temperatures were Springlike. ...