Harvard Squares

February 20th, 2018

Harvard Squares

As a former school librarian, there is nothing more fascinating that visiting a local library in the town where I happen to be at the moment.  I recently got a visitor’s card to the New Smyrna Beach Library and have since checked out over 12 books.  I am like a gourmand in a food emporium when visiting a library and this library delivered.  All of the latest cookbooks where available.  Both David Leibovitz’s books,  My Paris Kitchen and L’Appart were on the shelves.  I also found Ottolenghi; The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

On a lighter note, I starting reading a culinary fiction series.  Katherine Hall Page is the author of the Faith Fairchild books about a caterer with the business “Have Faith in your Kitchen” who is also married to a minister.  She cooks up delicious food while solving mysteries and dealing with the challenges of being a minister’s wife.  In the book, The Body in the Attic, Faith and her husband make a temporary move to Boston where he is an interim Divinity Professor at Harvard.  I love the play on words of these Harvard Squares.  This is basically a bar cookie and allows you to make 48 cookies in one batch.  A great idea for a caterer or anyone not wanting to deal with batch after batch of cookies.

French Kande

I received a very special Valentine’s present this year.  I have been admiring the French Kande line of jewelry for a long time.  David gave me this necklace, although mine has a different Medallion.

French Kande Necklace

The designer, Kande, found French Medallions at a Paris Flea Market years ago and became inspired to create beautiful jewelry with them.

French Kande Medallion

My medallion is a  Silver Champagne medallion from the  Champagne region of France.  I love it.

Give the Harvard Squares a try.  I used a combination of chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.  The next time I would cut down or eliminate the butterscotch chips.  They overpowered the flavor profile.

HARVARD SQUARES

1 cup softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips (See above comment)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream the butter, then add the sugars and beat until fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing well.  Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, then add to the batter.  Combine the chocolate chips and other chips.  Stir them into the batter.

Spread the batter evenly into a well-greased jelly-roll pan (approximately 15 1/2 inches by 10 1/2 inches).

Bake in the oven until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool in the pan, then cut into squares.  Makes 48 squares.

Printable Recipe

 

Red Rice Salad and Florida Gardening

February 3rd, 2018

Red Rice Salad

We are cooking on the grill tonight.  David is making ribs.  I was excited about this rice salad from Giada De Laurentiis and thought it would be a great accompaniment.  One of the ingredients is radicchio.  I was having a hard time finding it here in New Smyrna Beach.  The local Publix did not have it.  I went to the local health food market, Heath’s Natural Food and, although they did not have radicchio, they ordered it for me.  It came within days.  I shared Giada’s recipe with them and they will display the recipe near the radicchio to encourage others to buy and use it.  I also bought Organic Madagascar Pink Rice from them since I could not find red rice anywhere.  The local businesses here in NSB are very accommodating.

Red Rice Salad

There is much to love about this rice salad.  It is full of flavor with fennel, radicchio, oranges, cucumber and fresh basil.  The whole-grain mustard vinaigrette ties it all together.

NSB Planters

I am hopeful that the days of freezing temperatures are behind us.  Everything that the owner of the house had in her outside planters was taken out by the freeze.  I have been busy for the last week trying to replace what she has lost.  This large planter now has Geraniums and  White Bacopa flowers.

New Smyrna Beach Planters

I bought this Dorotheanthus succulent that can withstand high heat.  It is also called Livingstone Daisy.  Hopefully it will make it through the summer.

NSB Planters

I also chose a native plant: the Dune Daisy, which is indigenous to Florida.  I am looking forward to more blooms.  With winter blanketing so many of you, I wanted to offer a glimpse of Spring and Summer.  It has also been  restorative to my well being to work on these planters.

Red Rice Salad

This may be too late for a Super Bowl side dish, but I am sure that it would be welcomed by anyone wanting a side dish for a Pot Luck or a crowd.  Enjoy and thanks to Giada!

RED RICE SALAD

Shredded Potato Salmon Cakes

January 26th, 2018

Shredded Potato Salmon Cakes

I’m embracing the Florida warmth, in spite of a string of several cool days.  We always gravitate toward seafood when we are here.  We have had fish soup, sautéed shrimp and salmon on the grill.  David found a recipe for these salmon cakes using canned salmon and Simply Potatoes Shredded Potatoes.  It is any easy recipe and made a delicious lunch one day.

Sea Gull

We had two gloriously warm days this week while our Daughter-In-Law’s Mother, Darla, was visiting.  She shot this picture of a sea gull on the beach.  We soaked up several hours of beach time.

NSB Side yard

We are enjoying our side yard which is very large.  I’m looking forward to relaxing on the chaise with a good book.  Our rental property is perfect for us.  It is nice to be able to stroll into town for a meal at one of the fabulous restaurants, ride bicycles on our quiet streets or walk to the beach for some time in the sun.

Shredded Potato Salmon Cakes

The recipe makes quite a few salmon cakes (12) so you can enjoy them for several days or halve the recipe.  We will be going to the New Smyrna Beach farmers’ market this weekend so will be looking forward to local produce and fruit.  Strawberries will be coming out of Plant City soon, if the frost didn’t interfere.

 

SHREDDED POTATO SALMON CAKES (All Recipes)

  • 2 cups Simply Potatoes Shredded Potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 pound cooked flaked salmon or a large can of salmon
  • 3 green onions, chopped

 

  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped canned banana peppers
  • 3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (I left this out)
  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 cup oil for frying, or as needed

Directions

  1. Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Beat the eggs with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, and mix with the potatoes. Mix in salmon, green onions, capers, red bell pepper, banana peppers, mushrooms and bread crumbs. Form into about 12 patties about 3/4 inch thick.
  2. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the patties for about 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels quickly before serving. Try to fry all the patties at one time, otherwise the mixture becomes stiff.

Printable Recipe

A Change in Latitude and Warming Soup

January 11th, 2018

NSB House

We have made our annual Winter trek to Florida this month.  We fell in love with New Smyrna Beach last year and were lucky to find this charming rental property for this year and, hopefully, for many years to come.  The house has a lot of character with two fireplaces and lots of room.  It is within walking distance to town and the beach.

The only down side so far has been the cold weather.  We have had freezing temperatures and have made use of both fireplaces.

NSB Bedroom

The fireplace in the Master Bedroom is wonderful and a cosy place to curl up with a good book.

Lentil and Kale Soup 1

Another way to warm up is with this Slow Cooker Creamy Lentil Soup.  It was featured in the latest issue of Cooking Light Magazine and was part of a 3 day detox article for clean eating after the holidays.  We have stuck to the recipes and have felt better for it.  We’ve even lost a few pounds.

NSB Kitchen

I am enjoying my new kitchen.  It has a gas stove, which I prefer, and every kind of pot, pan, casserole and gadget imaginable.

NSB Porch

When the weather warms up, I am sure that we will enjoy this screened in porch.

Lentil and Kale Soup

In the meantime, we will stay warm by the fire and eat warming soup.  The soup is made creamy by an infusion of pureed chickpeas.  I know it is probably colder where most of you are located, so let’s hope the January thaw will make an early appearance.

SLOW COOKER CREAMY LENTIL SOUP (Cooking Light Magazine)

Cooking Spray
4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked green lentils
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup chopped carrots
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
5 thyme sprigs
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-oz.) can unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cups thinly sliced lacinato kale
1/2 tsp. sherry or red wine vinegar

Coat a 5-6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.  Place broth and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in slow cooker; stir well.  Cover and cook on LOW 7 hours.

Process chickpeas, 3/4 cup water, oil, and lemon juice in a blender until smooth.  Add chickpea mixture and kale to slow cooker; stir well.  Cover and cook on LOW 30 minutes.  Stir in vinegar.

Servings 5, Calories 312.

Printable Recipe

Orange French Toast

December 28th, 2017

French Toast

One way to usher in the New Year is with this Cointreau spiked French toast.  The French bread is soaked overnight in a mixture of eggs, orange juice, the orange liqueur, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla.  It can be topped with powdered sugar and an orange infused maple syrup.  We enjoyed this Christmas morning, but it would be perfect for New Year’s Day.

IMG_0058

The recipe came from one of my childhood friends.  I have mentioned before that a group of my high school friends and I self-published a cookbook of our favorite recipes.  Norma had spent many years as a caterer and this was one of the breakfast dishes that she liked to serve.  It is very easy to assemble for a crowd once the initial soaking is finished; just brown and serve.

Orange Juice

Serve with Champagne and orange juice for a celebration of the new year.  I offer you love and hope for 2018.

ORANGE FRENCH TOAST

1 loaf of French bread
6 eggs, beaten
2 cups orange juice
1/8 cup Cointreau or other Orange liqueur
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Powdered sugar
6 ounces maple syrup
2 ounces orange juice concentrate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Slice bread into 1-inch thick slices.  Lay bread in jelly roll pan.  Pour next 7 ingredients that have been whipped together, over the bread and refrigerate overnight.  Turn griddle on medium and heat up.  Lightly butter griddle, lay bread on griddle and cook for 5 minutes on each side.  You can finish cooking if need be in the oven at 325 degrees.

In a saucepan, mix together the maple syrup, orange juice concentrate, and vanilla.  Cook mixture for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle french toast with powdered sugar and pour sauce over it.

Printable Recipe

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