Planning for France

September 11th, 2017

Wardrobe 1

We are looking forward to our trip to France at the end of the month.  Planning a wardrobe that I can take in a carry-on bag has been a challenge.  Since we have to change planes in Spain before flying to Marseille, I decided that I did not want to risk lost luggage.  Besides, I like the idea of simplicity.  I will be taking 2 pairs of jeans and 2 pairs of black slacks to go with the above tops. On the plane I will wear a light jacket with my comfortable travel clothes.  We will be in France for two weeks. On the first week, we will be on a Viking Cruise.

Cruise MapThe cruise will be on the Rhone River traveling from Avignon to Lyon.  We are looking forward to visiting Arles where Van Gogh painted many of his works of art.

Arles on CruiseVan Gogh's Painting in Arles We have spent some time in Avignon on previous trips so have decided to do an optional shore excursion to Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Constructed in 1316 as a summer residence for the Avignon Popes, the area has thrived as one of the world’s most celebrated wine producing regions.  The excursion includes a tour of the chateau ruins and a wine tasting in one of the area’s wine cellars.

There will be several more stops along the Rhone River before we arrive in Lyon.  I am looking forward to getting to know more about this gastronomic and cultural community.  If only we had enough time to visit Restaurant Paul Bocuse.

Veranda Suite Viking

We have booked a Veranda Suite for our trip.  One of the advantages is free laundry service so that I will have clean clothes for our trip to Paris.

Paris Apartment 2017 1

Our Paris apartment is in the Latin Quarter very close to the Sorbonne.  I am still working on the details of our week there.  I will keep you posted.  The planning is almost as fun as experiencing a travel adventure.

My thoughts are with Florida and all of our friends there.  We have two of our Florida friends staying with us this week.  Our weather is supposed to be windy and rainy starting this afternoon.  Hopefully we will not lose power.

Fig Jam

September 1st, 2017

Figs

It is fig season.  When figs are ripe they must be used quickly as they do not have a long shelf life after picking.  One of my neighbors here in Lake Lure has a fig tree and she generously shares with several people.  I am glad to be one of them.  Last year I made a Fig and Almond Cake and a Fig and Goat’s Cheese Tart.  This year I had little time so I decided to turn my bounty into fig jam.  It couldn’t be easier.

Figs in pot

It is just a matter of chopping up the washed figs and adding them to a pot with sugar and lemon juice and cooking until thickened.  Stir occasionally while you are occupied elsewhere.  Jam making is such a virtuous pursuit.

Figs in Jars

Looking at the jewel-like contents of the jars makes me feel like I have accomplished something worthwhile.

Orange, Date, and Pecan Muffins

To thank Donna for all of the figs, I made her these Orange, Date, and Pecan Muffins from Jamie Schler’s new cookbook Orange Appeal. The orange flavor is intense in these muffins due to the addition of puréed orange pulp. I am enjoying all of Jamie’s recipes so much.  Orange Appeal is a worthy addition to your culinary collection.

FIG JAM

2 pounds of figs, stemmed and cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup water

Place the figs and sugar in a large pot.  Stir and let sit for about 15 minutes until sugar is dissolved.  Add lemon juice and water and bring to a boil while stirring to combine.

Turn burner to medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 to 25 minutes until fruit is soft and the sauce has thickened.

Place jam in sterilized canning jars with lids.  Jam will keep in the refrigerator for at least 3 months.

Printable Recipe

Eclipse Weekend

August 23rd, 2017

Orange Cake

Our family rented a house in Highlands, NC to watch the total eclipse of the sun.  It was one of the locations along a narrow track that would experience totality. We were excited to be there.  It was also our DIL’s birthday.  As part of the four day event, I made this Orange and Brown Sugar Glazed Cake from Jamie Schler for the celebration.  Her new cookbook, Orange Appeal: Savory and Sweet, has just been released.  It is a gorgeous book that showcases oranges in many ways.  I have been following her blog, Life’s a Feast for years.

Orange Cake

The orange flecked cake is drizzled with an orange glaze.  Because it was a birthday cake for Kristen, I added a brickle topping and extra orange zest.  I served it with Jamie’s orange flavored whipped cream. I will be making this cake often.  I will also be ordering Orange Appeal from Amazon.  I am anxious to try the Beef in Bourbon Sauce and her Chocolate Orange Marmalade Brownies.

Sweet Potato Salsa

Kristen was in charge of breakfast one morning.  One of the components to her Eggs Benedict dish was this Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa from Foster’s Market.  The smell of roasting sweet potatoes with Balsamic vinegar and cumin drew everyone into the kitchen.  This is such a versatile recipe.  Serve it with a steak, add it to tacos or serve it with eggs as we did.

Eggs Benedict

Kristen layered the English muffins with guacamole, cheddar cheese, sweet potato salsa, poached eggs and a crema sauce made from milk thinned sour cream.

Eggs Benedict

This was a unique take on traditional Eggs Benedict and we loved it.

Eclipse Group with glasses

After breakfast we were ready for the eclipse.  Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate.  Clouds rolled in to block our beautiful view.  In spite of that, it was awesome.  Darkness descended quickly, the crickets began chirping, birds flew to their nests, the temperature dropped, and for a brief moment the total eclipse came into view, with a flash of the aurora.  The kids will remember it always.

ORANGE AND BROWN SUGAR GLAZED CAKE WITH ORANGE-FLECKED WHIPPED CREAM
(As printed in Fine Cooking Magazine by Jamie Schler)

For the Cake:
8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan
12 oz. (scant 3 cups) unbleached cake flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. table salt
2 oranges
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup fresh orange juice

For the Glaze:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 Tbs. orange marmalade

For the Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream, well chilled
1 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp. finely grated orange zest

Make the cake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees F.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Use a rasp-style grater to remove 1 tbs zest from the oranges.  Juice one of the oranges to yield 1/4 cup juice.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and orange and lemon zests on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition just to combine.  Add the vanilla, and beat briefly to combine.
In three additions and alternating with the milk and orange juice, add the dry ingredients, beating on medium speed after each addition and scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to remove air bubbles, and smooth the surface with a spatula.
Bake until the cake is just set in the center and golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. (A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake may have a few crumbs clinging to it.) Check the cake during the last 10 minutes of baking; if it’s browning too much, tent it loosely with aluminum foil.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then slice a knife around the edge to release the cake, if necessary.  Remove the side of the pan, and using a large cake spatula, transfer the cake from thee pan to a cooling rack.  Let cool.

Glaze the cake:
Poke holes all over the cake with a toothpick in 3/4-inch intervals.
Combine the juice, sugar, and marmalade in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to low, and whisk often until syrupy, about 10 minutes.  Brush the glaze onto the cake, letting some drip down the sides.  (The cake can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days before serving.)

Make the whipped cream and serve:
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a bowl using a hand mixer, whip the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and zest, raise the speed to medium high, and continue to whip until medium soft peaks form, about 2 minutes more.  Serve the cake with the whipped cream.

FOSTER’S MARKET ROASTED SWEET POTATO SALSA

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled/chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tomato, cored and chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 to 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
2 scallions, minced (green and white part)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
juice and zest of 1 large lime
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, vinegar, chili powder and cumin and spread in one layer on a large, rimmed baking pan.
Place in the oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until the potatoes are golden brown and soft.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, place the tomato, red pepper, jalapeños, scallions, cilantro and lime juice and zest with the sweet potatoes; toss until combined.
Season with salt and pepper and serve warm with eggs, tostadas, grilled steak or chicken.

Printable Recipe Orange Cake

Printable Recipe Sweet Potato Salsa

Chicken Saltimbocca and Farro Salad

August 14th, 2017

Chicken Saltimbocca

I am overrun with herbs.  I’m not complaining.  I just have to make dishes that will take advantage of the fresh bounty.  The sage is doing so well this year.  I immediately thought of Chicken Saltimbocca; that Italian dish made with chicken, Prosciutto and sage.  I found a recipe from Giada de Laurentiis for rolled chicken with prosciutto, spinach and Parmesan and added extra sage.

Herbs

You can see all of my sage to the right of the basil.  The balcony looks a little messy right now.  We have had a week of rain and clean up has been neglected.

Farro Salad

I also made this Giada recipe for Farro Salad using my cherry tomatoes and lots of herbs.  Keeping up with summer produce is a challenge for many with large gardens, but well worth the time.  I am limited to container gardening.

October Beans

We found these beautiful October Beans at a roadside stand the other day.  I couldn’t resist them.

October Beans

They are even beautiful when shelled.  Fresh October Beans cook in about an hour.  I simmered them in water with a slice of bacon, some onions and chopped sage.  I didn’t get a picture of the final product but they do lose their beautiful color, although the creamy goodness makes up for the beige color.

You can find the Chicken Saltimbocca here.  The Farro Salad recipe is here.

We are off next weekend to enjoy a complete Eclipse of the Sun on Monday in Highlands, NC.  The area will be crowded with people coming from all over to enjoy the experience.  Part of our family will be joining us.  We have rented a house and have been advised to bring all of our food because the one grocery store in Highlands will not be able to accommodate the demands.  Will keep you posted.

Marmalade Meatballs

August 4th, 2017

Marmalade Meatballs

Melissa Clark, staff food writer for The New York Times has a new cookbook out called Dinner; Changing the Game.  I do not own the book yet, but it is one that I will probably purchase.  The premise is to make dinner interesting with a spin on traditional dishes. It also tries to make those meals doable in a reasonable amount of time.   Many of the recipes can serve as an entire meal.  Sheet pan meals have become very popular; all of the components cooked on one pan.  I made one on the blog last year.  But the chapter that had me interested was one called The Grind.  All of the recipes used ground meat.  These Marmalade Meatballs were delicious.

Marmalade MeatballsThe orange marmalade glaze was sweet and sour and added a nice punch to the meatballs.  Once the meatballs are formed it only takes 15 minutes to have them on the table.  So if you mix and form the meatballs ahead of time, dinner is quicker than calling for take-out.   I don’t know why I have never broiled my meatballs before.

Marmalade Meatballs

You can serve these slightly sweet meatballs over mashed potatoes, polenta or coconut rice.  There is a recipe in the book for the coconut rice that sounds very good. Melissa Clark has done a great job of making weeknight dinners inventive and exciting.

MARMALADE MEATBALLS

1 lb. ground chuck
1/2 cup panko crumbs
4 oil Packed anchovy fillets (optional)
2 scallions, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 tbls cider vinegar
1 tbls soy sauce
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
Fresh chives, for garnish

Set an oven rack at least 4″ from the heat source and heat the broiler.

In a large bowl combine the beef, panko, anchovies, scallions, egg, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper, and allspice and mix gently but thoroughly.

Form the mixture into 1 1/4″ balls.  At this point you can cover and refrigerate them overnight before cooking.

Arrange meatballs an inch apart on a rimmed baking sheet.  Broil until meatballs are golden all over and cooked through; 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the marmalade, vinegar, soy sauce and red chili flakes and bring to a simmer.

When meatballs are cooked through, brush them with the marmalade glaze and return them to the broiler.  Broil until glaze is bubbling, 1 to 2 minutes.  Serve with the chives scattered on top if desired.

Printable Recipe

 

 

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