Happy Halloween from Lake Lure

October 29th, 2014

Flowering Bridge Shed

When a new bridge was contemplated over the Rocky Broad River, the river that flows into Lake Lure, there was much discussion about what to do with the historic 1925 bridge.  Throughout nearly nine decades it had connected the village of Chimney Rock to the town of Lake Lure.  A group of residents decided to preserve it as a flowering walkway to honor its significant history.

Flowering Bridge Gateway

Come with me on a Fall tour of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge.

Flowering Bridge Beauty

My friend Penny of The Comforts of Home was with me.  I expected the usual beautiful floral displays, but I did not expect a Halloween extravaganza.

Flowering Bridge Halloween 1

Needless to say we were enthralled with the creativity.  Enjoy.

Flowering Bridge Halloween 2 Tipsy

Lake Lure Flowering Bridge Hallowee 3 Bear

Pumpkins 1

Pumpkins 8 Porcupine

Pumpkins 2 Snowman

Pumpkins 9 Miss NC

Pumpkins 3 Blue girl

Pumpkins 11

Pumpkins 5 Lady

Pumpkins 7

Pumpkkins 10

Did you have a favorite?  Happy Halloween everyone.

Ribollita – Tuscan Vegetable and Bread Soup

October 24th, 2014

Ribollita 1

Ribollita is a classic Tuscan peasant soup.  It utilizes stale bread and inexpensive winter vegetables.  Translated ribollita means “reboiled”.   Many times left-over minestrone was used as its base.  I admire the frugality of this soup because it also offers a wealth of nutrient rich vegetables.  Leafy kale (cavalo nero in Tuscany), savoy cabbage, carrots, potatoes, celery,cannellini beans and tomatoes are all part of the ingredients.  The stale bread stretches it to feed many.  I was inspired to make this soup because I had a left-over chunk of the wonderful Parmesan bread that I made in my last post.  It was perfect for this soup; a little dense and full of Parmesan flavor.

Ribollita 2

I reviewed several recipes for ribollita.  Some included pancetta or bacon, some added garlic and rosemary, but I went with a classic recipe from Gabriele Corcos, who with his wife Debi Mazar, has the cooking show Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel. Gabriele is a native of Tuscany.  For me, this hearty soup had a depth of flavor that emanated from the vegetables.  The tomatoes were kept to a minimum and water was used instead of broth to flavor the soup.  So the overall flavor was mild with a rich earthy vegetable taste.  This is most likely the way it was made originally.  My husband decided he needed some meat, so added sauteed sausages to his soup.

Ribollita 3

This soup is very forgiving of any ingredients that you may want to add, and I have decided that I will be hoarding stale bread just for the purpose of making it.  Warm, filling, delicious and good for you.  You couldn’t ask for more.

David Cooking

Today is David’s birthday.  Happy birthday to my partner, soul mate and best friend.  As you can see we have a lot in common.  But I don’t mind sharing kitchen space with him.

RIBOLLITA (Adapted from Extra Virgin by Gabriele Corsos and Debi Mazer)

8 ounces dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water to cover (Or 1-15 ounce can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans)*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bunch Tuscan kale or regular kale, leaves, removed and roughly chopped
1/2 head savoy cabbage, roughly chopped
1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 pound stale country style bread (I used 1/3 of a loaf of Parmesan bread), cut into cubes

Rinse and drain the soaked beans.  Bring a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot full of water to a boil.  Add the beans, making sure they’re covered by a few inches of water, and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cook for at least 1 hour, salting the water after 40 minutes, until tender.  Drain the beans and set aside.

In an 8-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot.  Add the carrots, onion, and celery and saute’ for 8 to 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent but not golden.  Add the potatoes, kale and cabbage and saute’ for about 5 minutes, until the cabbage is wilted.

Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon and the drained beans.  Add enough water to cover the ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes, until it thickens considerably.

Add the bread and continue cooking for another 30 minutes , until the crust of the bread begins falling apart.*  If using canned beans add them when you add the bread.

Serve in bowls with an extra drizzle of olive oil.  Serves 6.

Printable recipe

Parmesan Bread

October 20th, 2014

Parmesan Bread 1

Pain au Parmesan or Parmesan Bread is a recipe from Patricia Well’s The Paris Cookbook.  I picked up a copy of this book recently at an antique mall.  Even though it was written over a decade ago, the recipes are current and inviting.  I am a committed bread lover, so this recipe for Parmesan bread appealed to me immediately.  Patricia was inspired to adapt this bread recipe from the Boulangerie Onfroy in the Marais.  The bread is fine textured with a pungent Parmesan flavor.  It makes a great BLT.  I have also been enjoying it as toast with a tomato topping.

Parmesan Bread 2

But what is so wonderful about this Parmesan bread is that it easy.  It can be kneaded in a stand mixer and takes little hands on time.   Each slice of this fragrant bread brought me back to the beautiful boulangeries of Paris.

Boulangerie Onfroy

We have been in Florida celebrating our joint birthdays for the last week.  Here are a few pictures of the event.

Birthday Mimi and kids
I was so happy to have the grandkids with us.

Birthday Kristen and MichaelOur thanks to all of our friends and our wonderful family, including our Son Michael and DIL Kristen above, for a stellar celebration.  Aging can be a beautiful time of life.  Thank you Mark for the pictures that captured the event.


1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3 3/4 cups ( 1 pound ) bread flour, or more if needed
3 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (3/4 cup)
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water, for egg wash

In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, and lukewarm water, and stir to blend.  Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.  Then stir in the oil and the sea salt.

Add the 3 3/4 cups flour and the cheese all at once, and mix at medium speed until most of the flour has been absorbed and the dough forms a ball.  Continue to knead until the dough is soft and satiny but still firm, 4 to 5 minutes.  If necessary, add a little more flour to keep the dough from sticking.  Transfer the dough to a clean, floured work surface and knead by had for 1 minute.  The dough should be smooth and should spring back when indented with your fingertip.

Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.  Punch the dough down and shape it into a tight rectangle.  Place the dough in a nonstick 1-quart rectangular bread pan that has been buttered.  Cover it with a clean cloth and let it rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash.  With the tips of a pair of scissors, snip the top of the dough all over, about 15 times, to allow it to expand evenly during baking.  Place the bread pan on the bottom shelf of the oven.  Bake until firm and golden brown, and the bread sounds hollow when tapped, about 35 to 40 minutes.  Transfer the bread to a rack to cool.

Printable Recipe


Busy Lady Blackberry Cobbler

October 14th, 2014

Blackberry Cobbler 1

Years ago, a dear friend shared a recipe with me that she called Busy Lady Cobbler.  She made it with apples, but any fruit will do.  The beauty of the recipe is that you probably have everything you need other than the fruit in your pantry.  It is quick to mix together and is totally delicious either for dessert or for a brunch gathering.

Blackberry Cobbler 2V

I keep a bag of frozen blackberries on hand at all times lately.  So, when we had an impromptu get together recently, I was able to have this dessert in the oven and on the table in no time.  Add a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream and you will be pleased with the results.

Blackberry Cobbler 3

The proportions are easy to remember so you can pull this together anywhere, anytime.  Any two cups of fruit, whether fresh or frozen will work.  The cake-like batter rises to engulf the fruit in a sweet embrace.  I have been enjoying the leftovers as a midnight snack.  You need this in your arsenal of culinary delights.

BUSY LADY BLACKBERRY COBBLER (Adapted from the Pioneer Woman)

1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for greasing 2 quart casserole
1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 cup self rising flour
1 cup milk
2 cups fresh or frozen berries (thawed) or fresh apple slices (add cinnamon to apples)
Whipped cream or ice cream for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter.

In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup sugar with the flour and milk. Whisk in the melted butter.

Rinse the blackberries and pat them dry. If frozen, thaw and pat dry.  Pour the batter into the baking dish. Sprinkle the blackberries or other fruit evenly over the top of the batter. Sprinkle 1/8 cup sugar over the top. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 1 hour. When 10 minutes of the cooking time remains, sprinkle 1 extra tablespoons sugar over the top. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.  Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Printable Recipe


Pappardelle with Pine Nuts, Prosciutto and Brown Butter

October 9th, 2014

Pappardelle with Pine Nuts, Prosciutto and Brown Butter 1


Although pricey, pine nuts are one of my favorite nuts to add to dishes.  This nut, known as pignolo in Italy, pinhao in Portugal and Pinon in Spain is mild tasting in its raw form, but when it is toasted it takes on a very pleasant nutty taste.  Even though they are expensive, a little goes a long way.  I decided to pair the nuts with one of my favorite pastas.  Pappardelle is sometimes hard to find and the price jumps all over the place.  A one pound bag at the Fresh Market costs over $5.00.  But at Trader Joe’s you can find it for $1.99.  I have also found pappardelle at T.J. Max, believe it or not.  My favorite kind of Pappardelle is one with ridged edges.  It just looks so pretty on the plate.

Pappardelle with Pine Nuts 2V


I have been experimenting with lots of pasta dishes lately because we have tentative plans for a trip to Italy next year.  It is always fun to set the stage, so to speak. I love this simple combination.  You can’t get more Italian than pappardelle, prosciutto and pine nuts.  The brown butter and lemons just bring it all together in a palate pleasing way.  Oh, the alliteration!

Pappardelle with Pine Nuts 3


This is a very easy dish to pull together.  You can have it on the table in no time.

Lake Lure with Chimney Rock


Earlier in the week, the temperatures in Lake Lure got down to the low 40′s overnight.  The lake looked like this in the morning.  The lake temperature and the air temperature created a smoke-like effect on the surface of the lake.  I never tire of our view and the wonders of nature.


3/4 pound pappardelle pasta
1 sticke (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into small pieces
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted lightly
thin lemon wedges as an accompaniment

Cook the pappardelle according to package directions in a pot of salted boiling water.  While the pasta is cooking, in a skillet heat the butter over moderately high heat, swirling it, until it is golden brown, remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the lemon juice, the prosciutto, the parsley and the pine nuts.  In a bowl toss the pappardelle with the butter sauce and salt and pepper to taste and serve it with the lemon wedges.  Serves 6 as a first course and 3 to 4 as an entree.

Printable Recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.

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