Labor Day on the Lake

September 7th, 2011

It was the best of times.  There is nothing like spending a long weekend with the family enjoying the end of summer on the lake.  We had cookouts, a birthday to celebrate, a wine tasting and some firsts.  Unfortunately I took very few pictures of the food but will share some of the images from the weekend.

Granddaughter Rachel has been taking swimming lessons and this was the first year that she jumped into the water from the dock.

It was Grandson Cameron’s first visit to Lake Lure.


Uncle Jeff got a chance to wakeboard.

We had a blind wine tasting of Pinot Noir wines from California.  The unanimous winner was a Hendry Vineyard Napa Valley Pinot Noir 2008.  Thank you Dave A. for always bringing a case of Hendry wines to the holiday get together.

The kids had their own blind fruit juice tasting.  The winner was Simply Lemonade.

David smoked two pork butts for our pulled pork dinner.  It was better than any barbecue restaurant in North Carolina.  He made a ketchup based sauce and a vinegar based sauce.

My friend Lyla suggested I try Trisha Yearwood’s recipe for Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese.  In the interest of keeping it real here, I have to tell you that this is not my picture.  I did not remember to take a picture.  The picture came from this site.  The adults absolutely loved the mac and cheese and it was easy to put together.  The kids liked it, but did not love it.  It has something to do with that little box of powdered cheese, if you know what I mean.

We also celebrated our DIL Kristen’s birthday.  I made a Lemon Layer Cake with Raspberry Curd.  I made the cake layers and the raspberry curd ahead of time and frosted the cake on the day that we served it.  The cake layers are split in half and the raspberry curd is spread between the layers.

The raspberry curd  filling was delicious.  The recipe came from a book called Luscious Berry Desserts by Lori Longbotham.  Here it is.


2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
5 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Raspberry Curd:
1 stick unsalted butter
12 ounce package frozen raspberries, thawed
5 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 tablespoons lemon zest
3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Curd Directions:
Melt butter over medium heat.
Add raspberries, yolks, sugar, and salt. Mash raspberries. Cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Pour through a strainer, pressing to extract as much as possible.
Cool to room temperature then stir in lemon juice. Chill.

Cake Directions:
Heat oven to 350. Prepare two 8×2 round cake pans. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Pulse 1/4 cup of the sugar with lemon zest in food processor until finely ground.
Beat butter and zest mixture with electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add remaining sugar and beat until smooth.
Add 1/4 cup milk and beat until just blended. Reduce speed to low and alternately add flour and milk in 3 batches. Beat only until blended, no longer.
Beat egg whites in a large bowl until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat to stiff peaks.
Fold the egg whites into the batter carefully.
Divide batter between the two pans and bake about 35 minutes.
Cool 10 minutes in pan then remove and cool completely.

Frosting Directions:

Beat butter and zest until fluffy.
Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Add lemon juice and beat for one minute.


Cut each cake into two layers.
Spread curd in between layers, leaving about a 1/2 inch border.
Spread frosting on sides and top

Printable recipe

Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken

August 30th, 2011

I have been running fast this week in preparation for the annual family Labor Day Weekend at the lake.  There were bed linens to wash, beds to be made, the refrigerator cleaned, floors moped and an extra table added to the porch so that we can seat fourteen.  I have been doing prep work in the kitchen; things that can be done ahead of time like making glazed pecans for salads, blueberry muffins baked and in the freezer, lemon cake layers made and a raspberry curd whipped up for a special birthday cake. There has been little time to think about what’s for dinner.

I have two special friends in Michigan who have come to the rescue with ideas on crowd friendly recipes.  My childhood friend Lyla has emailed me several recipes which I will blog about soon.  Also my SIL Barb has sent along some recipes.  One of the recipes she emailed me was from her friend Linda who is a great cook and is thinking about starting a blog.  It is a recipe for chicken teriyaki that is done in a slow cooker.   That is just what I needed yesterday when there was no time to cook.

The smell of the soy infused chicken cooking away while I was making beds and vacuuming was like heaven to my senses.  I love it when dinner can cook itself and I need to remember to use my crock pot more often.  The results were outstanding.  The chicken thighs were meltingly tender and the sauce was delicious over plain white rice.  If all of Linda’s recipes are this good, I will become an avid follower of her food blog.  Thanks Barb for passing the recipe along.

Now here’s a dirty little confession.  I couldn’t sleep last night and got up at 4:00 AM and all I could think about was that chicken.  I quietly got out of bed and went to the kitchen, scooped out some of the leftovers, microwaved them and enjoyed a bowl while reading my current novel.  It was so good.  Think I’ll skip breakfast this morning.


12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 1/2 teaspoons cold water
Hot cooked long grain rice

Place chicken in a 4 qt. slow cooker.  In a large bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, cider vinegar, ginger, garlic and pepper.  Pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until chicken is tender.  Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm.  Skim fat from cooking liquid.  Place liquid in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Combine cornstarch and water until smooth.  Gradually stir into liquid and stir until sauce is thickend.  Serve with chicken and rice.

Note:  I halved the recipe and it still worked fine in my crock pot.  It might not need the full 4 hours time.

Printable recipe

Crock Pot Chuck Roast

March 3rd, 2010

We have friends visiting for Daytona Beach Bike Week. The guys are busy going to such esoteric events as coleslaw wrestling and wet T-shirt contests and Jackie and I are spending our time shopping and seeing girly movies like It’s Complicated. As an aside, this is the second time I have seen this movie and I can’t get over my obsession with chocolate croissants. We have done some cooking. We had an excellent pork tenderloin on the grill, but most of the time we are out and about all day long. That is why, when Jackie told me about this recipe for crock pot chuck roast, I unearthed the crock pot and we put it on and left for the day. What is different about this roast is the way it is seasoned. Jackie rubbed both sides with cinnamon and garlic salt. She then browned it and we put it in the crockpot with about 1/2 cup beef broth. The use of cinnamon sounded strange to me but it imparted a unique flavor to the roast. I have never had a mole sauce but with the addition of chocolate this may be approaching that flavor. I haven’t had time to research it, so let me know if I am right or wrong about the flavors. I just know that we loved it.
1 4 pound chuck roast ( Try to find one that is at least 3 to 4 inches thick)
Ground cinnamon sprinkled on each side
Garlic salt or powder sprinkled on each side
Salt (if not using garlic salt) and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon olive oil to brown roast
Coat chuck roast on both side with seasonings. Brown in olive oil seasoned skillet. Transfer to crock pot, add beef broth and cook on low for about 8 hours. Remove the roast and degrease the juices. Thicken the gravy with a slurry of flour and water.
By the way, I think coleslaw wrestling is a huge waste of coleslaw. It is not pretty.

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

October 3rd, 2009

This is the treat that awaited me on my return from New York. The weather has turned cool in the NC Mountains and I was suprised when I got off the plane in Asheville at the difference just a few days can make. We live about a half an hour from Ashville. My plane got in at 6:00 P.M. so I was curious as to what dinner plans David had made. He figured that since he had to pick me up, he needed to fix something that required very little attention. It took him a while to find my crock pot, but I think he came up with an excellent solution to the problem and coming home to the smell of dinner cooking is a comforting feeling. Add to that a flickering fire and good music and it felt good to be home again.


2 Chicken Breasts and 4 chicken thighs skinned
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 large red or green bell peppers, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. each basil and oregano
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
Fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 8 oz. stewed tomatoes with chiles
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups burgundy wine
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling before serving

Place onions and peppers on bottom of crock pot. Add chicken. Stir together remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook on low 7 – 9 hours or high 3-4 hours. Serve with pasta or rice, with a salad on the side.

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