Herbilicious Popovers

I love cooking with fresh herbs, and try to do so as much as I can.  I use dried herbs too, especially when making heavier, heartier soups or sauces.  But when making salads, light dressings or marinades, breads, or even a lot of meats, I use fresh herbs whenever possible.  They just have a fresher flavor and using them really makes your dishes come to life.  If using fresh herbs when cooking, you want to put them in towards the end of the cooking process, so they don’t wilt and lose their flavors, whereas if you are using dried herbs, you want to put them in early into the cooking process so the flavors can reawaken and blend into the the flavors of the dish you are making.   However, when baking, you want to mix the herbs in with your dry ingredients and then incorporate them in when mixing everything together.  I love cooking with all kinds of herbs and I am always up for experimenting with something new.  I figure if I don’t like something, I’ve tried and and I don’t have to do it again.  But if I do like it, then I have been treated to a new culinary experience, that I will repeat again and again.   As I always say, don’t be afraid to try new things.  Think outside the box.  And yes, I give you permission to “play with your food”.

Herbed Popovers with fresh rosemary, oregano, marjoram, thyme and chives.  I love these popovers and make them quite often, as you can tell, if you could see this old, worn and well used cook book.  They are best when served hot, straight out of the oven, with or without additional butter.

IMG_1280

IMG_1275

You only want to fill the pan about 1/2 way.  These light, airy popovers are supposed to pop up and rise.  If you fill the pan too full, they will spill over and will not turn out.

IMG_1278

Herbed Popovers

3 eggs

1 cup milk

2 TBSP melted buter

3/4 cup flour

1/8 tsp salt

about 1 tsp each of your choice of herbs.  I used chives, thyme, rosemary, oregano and marjoram, but you can use whatever herbs you like.  Mixing things up a bit will give you new flavor varieties.

 

Preheat the oven to 425* F

I used a muffin pan, but you can also use ramekins if you prefer.  Spray the inside with cooking spray.

Mix the eggs, milk and melted butter together and set aside.  Mix all your dry ingredients and herbs together, then add the egg mixture and mix thoroughly.  Fill the pan only half full and bake for 25-30 minutes or until light and golden brown.  DO NOT open the door to the oven while baking or your popovers may fall.  These are real light and airy, with a lot of air pockets inside.  If you like cheese, you can also use your choice of cheese as well, either with or without the herbs.

 

When cutting fresh herbs like basil or spinach or greens, roll a bunch of the bigger leafed herbs and greens tight, like rolling a cigar, starting with your larger leaves outside and small leaves inside. With your French knife (your big, main knife), slowly rock or slide your knife along the edges of the rolled herbs or greens.  This is called a chiffonade.  The result will be thin strips of your herbs or greens.

IMG_1263

IMG_1265

 

Ever Feel Like You’ve Had Too Much Wine? Me Neither

Normally, I do not do more than one post a day, but I was having too much fun with this one not to share it with all of you.  As most of you know, I love my wines.  And these pictures will show that it is kind of a running theme in my house, my art, and my life in general.  I am doing my part to help save the planet one wine bottle at a time, as well as recycling as many corks as I can into something fun and useful at the same time.  Life is way to short to take things too seriously.  Have fun.  Enjoy.  And while enjoying life, take time to enjoy the wines as well.

I painted both the pictures, the wine bottle and the wine glasses.  The bottle of Pinot Blanc is my own label of wine that we bottled, and if you look closely, it is the same photo as one of the pictures.  It is one of my Saint Bernards, Vinnie, with “his own glass of wine”.  I also made the serving tray and the trivet.  Most of the other items were made from other friends of mine.  There is a plant holder filled with succulents, a place card holder, a Christmas reindeer, and two serving dishes, and some other fun festive decorating ideas to boot.  One of the flattened wine bottles I use as a  butter dish, and the other I just put some jellie bellies in so you could see the versatility.  I like things that are fun and functional at the same time.  I hope you have as much with this post as I did putting it all together.

IMG_1214

IMG_1305

Check out the shoes.  Two of my favorite things, dogs and wine.  Who knew?

IMG_1128

A partial sampling of my “wine cellar” downstairs.  We have more upstairs in the kitchen too.  My house always has wine.

IMG_0478

Just one glass of wine a day, right?!

IMG_1154

Eat Like the Pros

We tend to eat a lot lighter when the warmer weather is here, and this recipe for pasta with lemon and garlic is a perfect, light summer dish.   You can use it as a side dish or add your favorite protein and make it more of a meal.  You can make it vegetarian or non-vegetarian.  It is your choice, as are most of the recipes I cook.  Either way, however you make it, it is a delicious light meal for the warmer weather.   I started with the recipe from Matt & Susie Light, and then of course, I mixed and matched and added to it to make it my own.  It is one of the recipes in my new cookbook, Cooking with the Pros, by David Ortiz and some of his fellow New England athletes.  This is a really good book with quick, simple, delicious meals that are some of the favorite dishes from the athletes who contributed to make this book.  So with this book and these recipes, you can eat what the pros eat, and help others in need at the same time.  All the athletes who contributed to this book believe in helping others and do a lot of charity work.  The proceeds from the book go to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, which helps kids from the Dominican Republic who are in need of heart surgeries and also provides support for the families of children in New England who live with congestive heart disorders.  

David Ortiz, also known as Big Papi, played for the Boston Red Sox  from 2003-2016.

IMG_1272

Matt Light played for the New England Patriots from 2001-2011.  This is the vegetarian/vegan version of the pasta that I would use as a side dish.  If you are making it vegan, substitute a vegan cheese for the Parmigiano cheese.

IMG_1273

The ingredients.

IMG_1260

Lemon pasta with lemon-herb grilled chicken to make it more of a meal.  I also served it with an herbed pop-over and a light, crisp and refreshing Pinot Blanc.  This is a wine we bottled, from our favorite winery here in the South Denver Metro area of Colorado, InVINtions, a Creative Winery.   The label is one of our dogs, Vinnie, enjoying “his” glass of wine after a long hard day of play.

IMG_1282

Jeanne’s Pasta with Lemon and Garlic

1 box of cooked pasta.  I used orzo, but you can use whatever you like.

3 cups spinach, chopped (you can also use kale, Swiss Chard or other greens of your choice)

2 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP lemon juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

red pepper flakes to taste

salt & pepper to taste

baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

tomatoes, chopped

lemon verbena, chiffonade (Optional.  This time of the year, it grows wild in my backyard, so I use it in as many dishes as I can.  It has a real lemony flavor and adds a little more zip and zing to your dishes.)

Parmigiano cheese (optional.  You can both cook it in with the spinach and/or top the dish with it.)

 

Cook your pasta choice according to the directions.  Saute the spinach (or greens of your choice), mushrooms, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes together until cooked.  If you are adding Parmagiano cheese to your dish, add it after the vegetables are cooked, along with the toasted pine nuts and tomatoes.  Add the lemon juice and your pasta and mix everything together.  If you are using this dish as a main meal, add your meat or protein choice on top of the pasta and vegetables and top with more Parmagiano cheese if desired.

 

***InVINtions, A Creative Winery is located  at 9608 East Arapohoe Road, Greenwood Village, CO 80112.  You can find them at http://www.InVINtionsWine.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maryland Crab Cakes

Maryland is famous for it’s crab cakes, and you can’t visit without trying them.  Maryland crab cakes are different than a lot of other crab cakes that are out there because they have more actual crab in them, whereas others have more breading in them and are often referred to as “deviled crab cakes”.  I like them both, and both are tasty, but once you have had the original; the best; it is hard to go back to something different.  When we travel, we love to eat the local foods, and the best places to go are where the locals eat.   So we asked the residents of Havre de Grace where to go and we were told MacGregor’s had the best crab cakes in town.  They were scrumptious.  We actually split one crab cake meal between us, and we each had some Maryland crab soup as well.  My husband had the Maryland crab soup with a tomato base, vegetables and potatoes, while I had the creamy crab soup that was more like a crab chowder.  Both were delicious, and added to our crab cake plate, it made the perfect Maryland meal.  MacGregor’s is located at the very most northern tip of the Chesapeake Bay, and the back of the restaurant faces the Bay.  So you get a fabulous, authentic seafood dinner with a fantastic view of the Chesapeake Bay all at the same location.

IMG_1175

IMG_1179

Havre de Grace is a town located at the northern most tip of the Chesapeake Bay.  It is  rich with history, dating back to the days of George Washington and the French troops of 1781.

IMG_1167

IMG_1169

Maryland Crab Cakes

1 lb lump crab meat

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup mayonnaise

lemon juice to taste

1 TBSP garlic

1 cup onion, chopped fine

1 cup red pepper, chopped fine

1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs

1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce

1 TBSP malt vinegar

1 tsp paprika

cayenne pepper to taste

1 TBSP dry mustard

1 tsp parsley, chopped fine

salt & pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 375* F

Mix the eggs, mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice together and mix well.  Then add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.   Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Form the crab mixture into patties that are palm sized and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Spray the top of the crab cakes with additional cooking spray.  Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for an additional 5 minutes.  Serve with lemon and tartar sauce.  MacGregor’s served their crab cakes on top of a large cracker.

 

 

***MacGregor’s is located at:

331 Saint John Street, Havre de Grace, MD 21078

You can find them at Macgreghdg@aol.com or http://www.MACGREGORSRESTAURANT.com

 

 

 

Wine, Wine Everywhere Wine

Wine is one of the most universal beverages there is.  It is the nectar of the Gods.  Grapes and vineyards are grown in many different countries around the world, and just about every state in the United States grows some kind of grapes for wine.   There are the big mass producing wineries that we have all heard of.  There are medium size wineries, that are also fairly well known.  And then there are the small, boutique wineries that produce less than 10,000 cases of wine per year.  Often times, these smaller, boutique wineries are hidden treasures that are just waiting to be discovered.

While we were in Maryland, we were looking for things to do when we discovered one of these rare gems.  It was a small, family owned and operated boutique winery in Havre de Grace.  Our fabulous discovery was the Mount Felix Vineyard & Winery, owned and operated by the Ianniello family.   We were cared for very well by both Peter and his daughter Martine.   Mount Felix’s motto is “Wind, Water  & Wine …enjoy the view one sip at a time!”   How true that is too.  Mount Felix is located on 20 acres of rolling hills, filled with vineyards of different grapes.   It overlooks the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.  The winery was an old farm house built in the 1880’s, and the Ianniello family lives right there in the house.    Mount Felix produces about 5000 cases per year.  They produce wines to satisfy all palettes, whether they lean to the sweeter side of wine or the dryer side.  I prefer dryer wines to sweeter wines, and the selections they offered for the dry flight were all delicious. They offered everything from a chardonnay to a full bodied red, as well as a nice, soothing and relaxing port.  If you like sweeter wines, they have a great flight for those as well, with some interesting infusions of different fruits, from blueberry to cherry to pumpkin.  The pumpkin wine would be delicious served as a mulled wine for the Holidays, especially Thanksgiving.

 

IMG_1164

IMG_1150

IMG_1163

IMG_1162

IMG_1159

Peter and Martine, with me in the middle, and a bottle of their Christilan Arias port, which was delicious by the way.   The Ianniello family is a very generous family and support a lot of charities.  We are holding the cookbook, Cooking With the Pros, by David Ortiz, formerly from the Boston Red Sox, and his famous athlete friends.   The proceeds of this cookbook go towards the David Ortiz Children’s Fund.  This fabulous book was a gift to me from Peter and Mount Felix.  I will definitely be cooking up a lot of these fabulous recipes, and of course, I will share them will all of you once I do.

IMG_1157

Now that’s a wine glass!

IMG_1154

Many thanks to Peter, Martine and Mount Felix Vineyard & Winery.  I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with you.

Next time you are in visiting the northern tip of the Chesapeake Bay area, definitely pop in to Mount Felix for a delicious glass or two of wine and take in the sights of their beautiful winery.  The address is 2000 Level Road, Havre de Grace, MD 21078.  You can find them on Facebook: Mount Felix Vineyard & Winery; Instagram @MountFelix or Twitter@MountFelix.

 

The Legendary Kitchen of Julia Child

IMG_1101

Hello everyone.  I am back.  We took a little mini vacation to Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia.  We were there for our nephew’s wedding, and of course we did some sight seeing as well.  We were only gone for a few days, and the weather was cold and rainy most of the time, but we still were able to get a lot done.  Pardon the pictures of me.  We took a red eye flight from Colorado to Washington D.C. and then went straight from the airport to the sights, and the rain, of the D.C. area.  So, unfortunately, I look like the tired drowned rat that I was.  Believe it or not though, I was actually doing a lot of research for my blog as well, mixing pleasure with “business”, although doing my blogging “business” is very pleasurable to me, and hopefully to all of you as well.

One of the stops we made while in Washington D.C. was the Smithsonian Museum, and of course, we had to see the food display.  It was all great, but the highlight for me was seeing the “legendary kitchen” of the one and only Julia Child.  She was and continues to be a huge inspiration and influence to me and many other chefs around the world.  Through her hard work, dedication and passion for cooking and food, Ms. Child was revolutionary in changing the way America and the world in general eats and cooks, taking cooking from being merely a necessity of life to the level of Culinary Art that it has become.  I wish I could have met her and could share a kitchen with her, but that will have to be in another time and place.  Ms. Child and I have a lot of things in common.  We are both from Pasadena, CA.  We both have a passion for both food and wine.  We love to entertain.  We both believe there is no such thing as too much butter, and everything is better with butter, and maybe even a little more butter just to be sure.  In the museum, there was a clip of Ms. Child and Jacque Pepin cooking together.  Mssr. Pepin was trying to make the recipe a little healthier, and was cutting down on the fats and the butter, while the whole time, Ms. Child just kept adding more and more butter.  They were doing one of Julia Child’s cooking shows in front of a live audience, and the audience was in stitches.  The look on Mssr. Pepin’s face just said it all.  He did his best not to break into a hardy laugh, while trying to make his dish, but could barely contain himself.  He finally just gave in to Ms. Child, because she was going to add as much butter as she wanted to, no matter what Mssr. Pepin did or said.  I can totally relate to that.  People always tease me for adding butter, and then more butter to my recipes.  And I whole heartedly follow her philosophy of wine for the food and wine for the cook.   If you ever get a chance to see the tribute that the Smithsonian has for Ms. Child, definitely go see it.  It is a fun tribute to the one and only Julia Child.  So as Ms. Child would say, “Bon Appetit”.

 

 

IMG_1103

IMG_1102

IMG_1104