Spiedies from Binghampton New York

May 3rd, 2016

Spiedies 1

At a recent get together with the Anderson family (The funeral of General Earl E. Anderson), extended family members from Binghampton, New York brought one of their local specialties; Spiedies. My first understanding was “Speedies”.  What?  Fast chicken and pork?  But I quickly got into the program.  I remembered that the Italian word for skewered meat was spiedini.  How this specialty of Italy made its way to Binghampton is still a mystery to me. I did find out that every August Binghampton holds a Spiedie Rally and Balloon Fest.  There are cooking contests held to see who can make the best spiedie sandwich.  Spiedies are actually skewered marinated meat (beef, chicken, lamb or pork), grilled and served with soft Italian bread which is used to pull the meat off of the skewer.  So forgive the above picture with grilled bread.  To make it authentic that bread should be soft and strong enough to pull the meat off of the skewers.  Add hot sauce or the cooked marinade to make it complete.  Everyone in Binghampton understands the concept.

Spiedies 2V

The recipe I used came from The New York Times.  You can find it here.  With grilling season upon us, you will be happy to have such a flavorful meat entree.  I used pork and chicken.  Do not marinate the chicken for more than 12 hours as it breaks down after that time.  The pork can be marinated for up to 36 hours.

Barb's Kitchen 2

Last week I visited an old friend from college.  She has just built the most charming house on several acres near Black Mountain, just a stones’s throw away from Lake Lure.  I feel so fortunate to have her close by.  We were both newly married attending the University of Florida when we met.  We had an instant rapport.  I am happy to say that Barb and I still have that special connection.  We have been having fun together shopping, lunching and laughing.  I love what she has accomplished with this house.  The farm sink, the color of the cabinets, the sliding barn door and the antique elements all combine to make such a welcoming space.

Barb's Kitchen 1

I could be very happy cooking in this kitchen.

Lilac Bush

Happy May Day a few days late.  My lilac bush in front of the guest cottage has bloomed on schedule.  Growing up in Michigan it was a tradition to make paper May baskets, fill them with lilacs and deliver them to friends and neighbors on May 1st.  The smell of lilacs brings back all of those memories.

Baked Parmesan Hash Browns

April 27th, 2016

Hash Browns 1

We have many visitors at the lake during the year.  Because of that, I am always looking for recipes to serve to a crowd.  Breakfast hash browns take time and when you are juggling eggs and bacon, it is just one more pan that has to be watched.  I found this simple baked hash brown recipe on Pinterest.  You can even prep it the night before.

We went for our first boat ride of the season last week.  Spring on the lake is so beautiful.

LL Kissing Alligators

The iconic view of Lake Lure is one of our favorites.  We call this the “kissing alligators” view.  The mountain to the right is obviously an alligator head.  The mountain to the left is a little obscured, but definitely looks like an alligator head.  Our cottage is next to the orange boathouse on the right.

LL French Chateaus 2

I have several favorite houses on the lake.  Surprisingly they all have a French Chateau look to them.  I got in trouble a few years ago peeking into this house when it was under construction.  There were “No Trespassing” signs posted, which I ignored.  The owner was next door and was not happy with me.  I tried to explain that I was a decorator and could not help myself; it fell on deaf ears.

LL French chateaus 1

This stucco house with French blue shutters is for sale if anyone is interested.  Here is a link.  By the way, I am happy to say that we have just sold our Florida house.  We will be returning to Florida soon to arrange an estate sale.

Hash Browns 2

Returning to the subject of these hash browns, I used frozen hash browns from Trader Joe’s.  I like them because they have no artificial ingredients.  Like I said before, you can prep them the night before in the pan and cover with plastic wrap for the morning.  It couldn’t be easier, and they would look great on a serving platter.

BAKED PARMESAN HASH BROWNS ( Recipe from Delicious Table )

1 bag frozen hash brown potatoes
4-5 sliced green onions
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray.  Press dry potatoes in a large mixing bowl with paper towels, this helps them crisp.  You can also use a salad spinner to help dry the potatoes.  Mix all ingredients in the bowl.  Scoop into muffin tin and press with spatula or a spoon.  Bake 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees until crispy.

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Tuna and Pinto Bean Salad: Spring

April 19th, 2016

Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad 1

We have been enjoying warmer weather this week.  David has been working on the boat, getting it cleaned of cobwebs, and checking the engine.  The lake is glistening and quiet.  There is not much boat traffic this early in the season.  I took our kayak out for the first time.  I was sure that I would capsize it, but found my balance quickly.  The alternative would be a dunking in frigid water.  It was relaxing paddling by lakefront houses seeing the improvements that neighbors have made to their properties over the winter.  The Ellis’s have finished their party dock and lakeside cabin. There is a new house going up a few doors down.  Hanging baskets adorn many docks and the dogwoods and azaleas are in bloom.

This was a day calling for a special lunch.  I found a can of pinto beans and Italian tuna packed in olive oil in the pantry.  From the fridge I pulled a jar of peperoncini, lemons, cherry tomatoes, celery and red onion.  The recipe was inspired by one made by Kalyn’s Kitchen; one of my favorite healthy bloggers.  We polished off the whole thing.  David said we should eat lunch like this every day.

Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad 2V

The dressing for the salad includes some of the peperoncini juice, lemon juice, olive oil, taco seasoning and a hit of hot pepper sauce.

LL Living Room with tulips 2

While shopping at Trader Joe’s last week, I picked up a small pot of tulips still in the bud stage.  Look at them now in my sunny living room.  Not a bad investment for $3.99.

LL Living room with tulips 1

I love how such a small pot of flowers can make me smile.  Something else that makes me smile is the Spring ritual that my friend Penny and I have formed.  Each Spring when I return from Florida, we get together in Asheville for antiquing and lunch at our favorite bistro, Fig.

Penny and Penny

It was a little cool last week, but we ate at our favorite table anyway.

Fig Lunch 2

Penny had the PEI Mussels with Pommes Frites.  I had Chicken Schnitzel with white beans, andouille sausage and a piquillo pepper coulis.  It was delicious and it was fun catching up after a dreary winter.  . . . But back to this week’s lunch.

Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad Close

I think this is a great recipe.  Thanks to Kalyn for the inspiration.

TUNA AND PINTO BEAN SALAD

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 T peperoncini juice (brine from the bottle of peppers)
1/2 tsp. Tabasco Sauce, more or less depending on how spicy you like it
1 tsp. Taco seasoning
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
4-6 large peperoncini peppers, stem and seeds removed and finely chopped
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 cup chopped tomato, drained if the tomatoes are very juicy (I used cherry tomatoes cut in fourths)
4 or 5 basil leaves, chiffonade
1 can (5-7 oz) Italian tuna packed in olive oil

Add rinsed and drained pinto beans to a medium size bowl.  Mix together the lemon juice, peperoncini juice, tabasco, taco seasoning, salt and pepper and olive oil. Whisk until combined.  Add rest of the ingredients except basil to the pinto beans.  Pour dressing over and stir to combine.  Sprinkle basil over the top and serve.

Printable Recipe

Banana Walnut Bread

April 12th, 2016

Banana Bread with Walnuts 2

I have tried many Banana Bread Recipes.  I have to say this is my favorite so far. Even David, who is not fond of banana bread, ate two pieces one right after another,  saying how moist it was.  Since we have returned from Florida, it has been a marathon clean-up of our property. We always love returning to the greening trees and blossoming bushes. But the leaves on the roof, the gutters and the yard always challenge us.

The colder weather has also been a concern.  I have held off purchasing many flowering baskets or putting out pots of herbs. They do say that you should wait for Mother’s Day before putting out flowers to avoid the possibility of frost or freeze.

 

 

Wizard

I did buy one pot of flowers in an old bucket that I have been carrying in and out of the house during cold nights.  It is sitting on the stump of a tree that we had taken down over the winter.  You can see our wizard carving in the background.  The Grandchildren love the wizard and it is featured in one of the children’s books that David has written; Rachel and The Wizard of Lake Lure.
Banana Bread with Walnuts 1V

This banana bread is just right with a cup of coffee or tea on these cool Spring mornings.  The cinnamon and vanilla add just the right flavor notes with the bananas.  The walnuts are also a nice touch.  If you want a healthy boost, you can add chia seeds and hemp hearts.  They are barely detectable but good nonetheless.  My DIL adds them to all of her sweet breads, muffins and pancakes.

Banana Bread with Walnuts 3 close

I hope you are enjoying this Spring awakening as much as I am.

BANANA WALNUT BREAD

3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (King Arthur)
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Chia seeds, 1 tablespoon Hemp hearts (optional)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
3 medium overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with baking soda, cinnamon, salt and Chia seeds and Hemp hearts if using.  In another bowl, combine the sugars, eggs and oil and beat at high speed until light-colored and creamy.  Add the mashed bananas and vanilla and beat until smooth.  I did this in my Kitchen Aid Mixer.  Stir in the dry ingredients until thoroughly blended.  Fold in the nuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is springy and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a rack to cool completely.

Printable Recipe

Turkey Ragu Bolognese

April 4th, 2016

Turkey Ragu 3

I am sharing another crock pot recipe with all of you.  When I have many chores to accomplish, the crock pot is my friend.  We are also trying to lighten things up a bit.  By using ground turkey and lots of vegetables this Italian sauce is light and goes well with a spinach linguine that is also lower in calories than regular pasta.Turkey Ragu BagPasta Valente is made in Charlottesville, Virginia by a Mother and Daughter team.  It is handcrafted, vegan and flavorful.  Plus it cooks in minutes. I found it at my local supermarket.
Turkey Ragu 1VThe Turkey Ragu Bolognese comes from one of my favorite slow cooker cookbooks, The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone.  Another recipe that I shared with everyone last year was her Spicy Tuscan Sausage Ragu.  I make it often.

We traveled to Washington DC last week to attend the funeral and burial of General Earl E. Anderson in Arlington National Cemetery.  He was a part of our extended family.  His list of accomplishments in life is beyond belief, but his demeanor was always humble and kind.

General Anderson

It was a full marine battalion procession to the grave site with a 21 gun salute and a fly over.  The tribute to this amazing man was truly awe inspiring.

Turkey Ragu 2close

We are back at the cottage this week, cleaning, sweeping and freshening both the interior and the exterior of the house.  This Turkey Ragu Bolognese is the perfect slow cooker dinner to have on hand while spring cleaning.

TURKEY RAGU ALLA BOLOGNESE

Makes 10 Cups

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium celery ribs, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 28-ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook until tender and golden, about 20 minutes.  Stir in ground turkey and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste, wine, and broth and bring to a simmer.

Scrape the mixture into the slow cooker and add the tomatoes, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until thick.  Stir in the cream and cook for 15 more minutes.

Note:  I saved the liquid from the can of tomatoes and added it to the crock pot also.

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