Blackberry Lemon Cake

I am always on the lookout for new recipes, and when I find one that I just have to try, I am so excited and I usually try it right away.  That happened a little while ago, when a blogging friend, who goes under the name justborkingaround, posted a recipe for a Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake.  I made it a couple of days after I found the recipe, and just loved it.  With the fresh berries, it is perfect for Spring and Summer.  It’s not just for breakfast either.  It makes a perfect snack or light dessert anytime.  I made mine with blackberries, since that is what I had at the time.  I love both blueberries and blackberries, although blackberries rank a bit higher on my preference list.  It was very light and fluffy.  It was also really, really good.  Because this is such a light dessert, the calorie count is relatively low as well.  It makes 12 servings, and each serving only has 226 calories, which is perfect for those of us who are trying to cut down on our sweets and desserts, but still have a sweet tooth.

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Blackberry (or Blueberry) Buttermilk Breakfast Cake

1/2 cup butter (1 stick) at room temperature

1-2 tsp lemon zest

1 cup + 1 TBSP sugar

1 egg, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups + 1/4 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 cups fresh berries (your choice)

1/2 cup buttermilk  (I use the dried buttermilk, mixed with regular milk.  Follow directions on package).

 

Preheat oven to 350* F

Prepare an 8″ round cake pan with cooking spray on the bottom and lined with parchment paper.

Toss the berries in 1/4 cup of flour.  I had some leftover lemon cookie crumbs that I ground up in the food processor and added to the flour and berry mixture as well.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and lemon zest and 1 cup of the sugar until smooth and creamy.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well blended.  Mix all your dry ingredients together then add 1/2 at a time to the butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the buttermilk.  Mix until all the ingredients are well combined.   Gently fold in the berry and flour mixture, making sure not to crush the berries.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar.  Again, I used some of my lemon cookie crumbs along with the sugar to give it a real zesty flavor.  Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until it is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.  Cool completely before cutting.

Gently fold in the berries to the mixture then pour into the prepared cake pan.

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Top the cake with the sugar (and lemon cookie crumbs if using) before baking.

IMG_1288Again, thank you to my fellow blogger justborkingaround for this delicious recipe.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and I know you will as well.  Please check out justborkingaround for some more really tasty dishes.

 

 

 

 

Dinner with a View

In summer and whenever the weather is nice and warm, we dine al fresco on our deck as much as possible.  Our view of the ponds is a bit obscured these days though, because the trees have grown up so much that they cover most of the view.  But we still have a nice view, and we still love it.  The way we see it, the higher the trees grow, the more privacy we have.  Although our ponds are pretty darn spectacular too.  We are very fortunate to have such a wonderful view from our deck and our backyard.  You can see the top of the 2nd pond here, and just behind these big pine trees is our first pond.  There are 6 ponds in our neighborhood, and we are in between the first two.  Our backyard opens up right into an open space and walking area that intersects all of the top 4 ponds.  The other two ponds are behind us, and they are located in a huge open space area that is home to a small free flowing stream complete with a couple of snapping turtles.  In the big open space behind us we also have a few owls’ and eagles nests as well.  We are often greeted by a wide variety of water fowl, including Canadian geese, a few species of ducks, blue herons, snowy egrets, and white pelicans.   Our ponds and open space are a hidden gem to most people, even though we live in a major Denver/Boulder suburb.

Dinner tonight was chicken I marinated in an herbed yogurt sauce that we put on the grill.  I served it over wild rice and some of our left over Brussel sprout salad with naan bread.  And of course wine; a medium oaked chardonnay to be precise.  There is always wine.   It was just a simple meal tonight, but it was the perfect meal for us.

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Marinating the chicken before putting it on the grill.  These chicken breasts were HUGE, so I butterflied them.  We easily have enough for at least one more meal.  Today I used dried herbs only because I had not yet been to the store and ran out of fresh herbs.  No, unfortunately, I do not grow my own.  I have many gifts and talents, but growing my own herbs sadly is not one of them.

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Herbed Yogurt Marinade Sauce

plain yogurt

lemon juice

garlic

basil

thyme

marjoram

oregano

red pepper flakes to taste

 

Mix everything together and spoon over chicken or fish, and really coat the meat well.  Let sit for at least 1 hour before cooking.  If you have some left over, top your cooked meat with it as a sauce.  I topped the chicken with chopped tomatoes and parsley as well as some of the left over sauce.

 

I’ve Been Nominated

I am new to this whole world of blogging, and am learning more and more everyday.   I am also having a lot of fun with my blog, A Jeanne in The Kitchen.   Apparently you are all enjoying it as well.  Today, I found out I was nominated for the Liebster Award by fellow blogger Mark Anthony from markanthonysblog.  WOW!!  Thank you so much.  This came as a complete shock and surprise, but it is definitely an honor.  I appreciate all the support I am receiving from all of you.

Why am I passionate about blogging ?

I had never thought about blogging at all before a friend of mine suggested it to me because she likes how I know so much about food, kitchens and cooking.  As I mentioned earlier, I am brand new to the world of blogging, and am learning as I go.  I love to write and I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Cal State Los Angeles.  I am also a certified trained chef.  I went to two different culinary schools in Southern California and was in the 2nd graduating class from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts.  So with my blog, I am combining two of my many passions, writing and cooking, and hopefully reaching out to as many people as I can.

 

 

My 10 random facts :

  1.  I am an avid scuba diver.  We dive all over the world, but mostly in the warm tropical waters of the Caribbean.
  2.   I am a swim coach and a masters swimmer.
  3.   The older I get, the more extreme my adventures become.
  4.   My fur babies are my children.  I have 2 Saint Bernards and 2 cats.
  5.  No matter who else goes along with us, my husband is always my number one choice to travel with.
  6.  I love to learn new things, and am always challenging myself.  Part of this love to learn is what inspires me to travel as much as we do.
  7.  If I had a spare $1,000,000 I would donate it to the animals and animal charities.
  8.   I love diving with the sharks.  In Belize, I became known as the “shark whisperer” because the sharks all came up to me and just wanted my attention.
  9. Diving with the black tip sharks in Roatan was definitely scary but also very exhillerating at the same time.

10. I’m excited about this post! 😀  I am also excited about how I am hopefully getting other people excited about cooking while taking the fear of cooking away.

 

I am Nominating:

  1.  2020cookingadventures
  2.  buyingseafood
  3. janowrite
  4. Rêveuse
  5. Vero and Canito in the kitchen

My 11 Questions to all of you:

  1.  If you could do anything, what would it be?
  2. Who is the most influential person to you?
  3. If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
  4. How did you become passionate about what you do?
  5. How did you get started doing what you do?
  6. What is your most favorite thing about yourself?
  7. What is your least favorite thing about yourself?
  8. What is your favorite hobby?
  9. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  10. What would you do once you got there?
  11. What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

 

A Cool Summer Salad

The warm weather is here and summer is quickly upon us.  With this, it means eating foods that a lot lighter.  We tend to eat a lot of salads in the summer, as I am sure quite a few people do.  Here is one of our favorite summer salads that is fun and different.  It is guaranteed  to help cool things down when the temperature starts to rise.

I was first introduced to this salad when I went to lunch with a friend of mine a couple of years ago in South East Denver.  They had it on the menu and we both ordered it and raved about it after wards.  So I came home and made it myself.  We have been enjoying it ever since.   It is a Brussel sprout salad with an herbed honey-mustard dressing.  It is refreshingly different and very healthy too, filled with all kinds of flavors and textures.  You can serve it as a main salad by adding chicken or steak, or your protein of choice, or you can serve it as a side salad, and just eat it as is.  You can also make it vegetarian, just skip the bacon.

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All the fixin’s for the salad.

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Making the dressing.

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Brussel Sprout Salad with Herbed Honey-Mustard Dressing

Raw Brussel sprouts, sliced, cut off the ends

red onions, sliced very thin

green onions, sliced thin

apples, small dice.  I used Gala apples, but you can use whatever type you like

Toasted almonds slivers

cooked bacon, crumbled

Bleu cheese crumbles (optional)

Craisins (optional)

Toss everything together and then toss in the herbed honey-mustard dressing and chill.  My husband likes the bleu cheese crumbles and I don’t; I like the craisins and he doesn’t. So we just add those separately and we both have a salad we love.

 

Herbed Honey-Mustard Dressing

1 heaping TBSP Dijon Mustard

1 Heaping TBSP whole grain mustard

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

1/3-1/2 cup olive oil

2 heaping TBSP honey

black pepper to taste

tarragon to taste

1 tsp each of fresh parsley, thyme, marjoram and oregano.

 

Whisk all the ingredients together and pour as much as you need over the salad.  Toss everything together well and chill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sausage & Peppers

We eat everything and are very experimental when it comes to trying new things.  But we do have our favorites too.  We can only try new things for so long before we start craving some of our old favorites, and then we just have to have them.  It is almost like we are recharging our batteries.  Once we have been satisfied, and have had our favorites, then we can go back to trying new things again.  And the cycle starts all over.  It is a pattern and rhythm we have got that seems to work well for us.  One of these favorites and a staple of ours is good old fashioned sausage & peppers.  We use a variety of sausages and a lot of fresh vegetables.

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I like a lot of color and textures in most the things I cook, and I love using fresh herbs.  I use all colors of bell peppers, red onions, Roma tomatoes and mushrooms.   Then added the finishing touches of fresh basil, thyme, marjoram and oregano.

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Cook the sausages separately until they are browned on all sides.  These were chicken Parmagiano sausages, but you can used whatever kind you like.   Our local Sprouts offers a wide variety of homemade sausages, and we have tried them all for a lot of different dishes.  They are all delicious.

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After the sausages are cooked, remove them and set aside.  Using the left over grease, some additional olive oil and about 1 cup of dry white wine, saute the peppers, onions, mushrooms, garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) for about 7-10 minutes or until the peppers are slightly softened and the onions are translucent.  Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan to get all of the sausage drippings.

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Once your onions and peppers are softened, add the tomatoes, fresh herbs, seasonings and sausages.  Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about another 10-15 minutes. You want the tomatoes to break down to make a light tomato sauce.

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Serve over pasta and top with either Mozzarella or Parmagiano if you like.  We served it with garlic and herb cheese bread.  I served a nice bold red blend to complete the meal.  Manga.

 

Sausage & Peppers

1 1/2 lbs sausage of your choice

red, green, yellow and orange bell peppers sliced thin

red onions, sliced thin

mushrooms, sliced

Roma tomatoes, medium dice

garlic

red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

1 cup dry white wine

olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

fresh basil, oregano, marjoram and thyme

 

 

 

 

Dinner for the Dogs

We all eat well in our house, and this includes our four-legged children as well.  I have not started cooking food for the cats yet, nor do I ever think I will, however, I do cook the wet food for our two Saint Bernards, Lucie and Vinnie.  Lucie and Vinnie eat just about as well as we do.   They get a wide variety of foods that include lots of proteins and fruits and vegetables that are dog friendly.  Sometimes they get rice, sometimes sweet potatoes, and sometimes regular potatoes.  I started making their wet food about 2 years ago.  It is much healthier for them and I know exactly what goes into their foods.  I don’t have to worry about them eating things that are bad for them because I am the one making their food; at least the foods I have control over.  Just like regular children, though, they are always going to try to push the limits and go for the taboo items.  Cooking their dog food is actually less expensive than buying their foods, because I know when I cook for them I am cooking them good quality, fresh foods.   Anyone who has pets knows that to purchase good quality foods is a bit pricey.  This week, Lucie and Vinnie are dining on some catfish, chicken, sweet potatoes rice and peas.  They’re not complaining, so I am assuming they like it.  They are such picky eaters, after all.  NOT!  Sometimes I make their dog treats too.  I will keep you posted the next time I make their treats.

Lucie and Vinnie are always ready to help out in the kitchen.  They make a very good clean-up crew too.  Whenever some crumbs or tidbits fall on the floor, they are more than willing to help clean things up in a split second or less.  But for some reason, they ALWAYS seem to know when I am cooking food for them.  They are even more eager and ready to help when it is for them.  I don’t know how they know when I am cooking for them vs. when I am cooking for us, but they do.  I have a little stuffed Saint I have named Fritzie, and she always comes in the kitchen to help out when I am making food for Lucie and Vinnie.  Maybe they have learned that when Fritzie comes into the kitchen Mommy is cooking for them.  Or maybe, they just have a sixth sense about these things.  I don’t know.  What I do know though, is that they are geniuses when it comes to food.

Fritzie is helping and Lucie is standing by very closely, just in case Mommy drops something.  She is being quite the lady.

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Vinnie, on the other hand, has decided it is much faster to just help himself.  Lucie is about to do the same, but I caught her before she could join in on the counter surfing action.

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Cooking everything up.  Catfish, chicken and sweet potatoes, with a little parsley and cinnamon, boiled in fish stock.  I mixed this in with rice and peas that I had cooked separately.  I also added a little milk and flour to thicken up the sauce, make it more like a gravy.

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Lucie is giving me that look, saying “Mom, I’m hungry.  Hurry up with my dinner”.

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Vinnie looks guilty.  Who knows what mischief he has been up to.   He is by the wine.  He is definitely his mother’s child.

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Fresh is Best

We love seafood, and even though we live inland, and are surrounded by mountains and plains, we still get to eat a fair amount.  Only what we get to eat is fresh/frozen, which is still very good, but it is not the same as fresh.  The best seafood is always fresh seafood.   Sometimes we get lucky and have the fresh catch directly brought in from the fishermen themselves, but this doesn’t happen too often, especially in the cities or urban areas.  This lucky catch usually only happens when we are on a diving trip on a small island.  The next best thing though, is being in a coastal region, where the food is coming directly from the ocean and it is just a short distance away to the restaurants or markets.  On our recent visit to the D.C. area, we had a couple of days where we were able to go out and dine on the gifts from the sea.  Our last seafood meal for the trip was on our way to Dulles airport, before coming home.  We went to Ford’s Fish Shack in Leesburg, VA.  The food was delicious and cooked to perfection.

We started the meal by sharing a Caesar salad and mini corn muffins.  For our main meal, my husband ordered the blackened sea scallops and I ordered the Atlantic cod topped with crab and a cream sauce, served over mashed cauliflower and green beans on the side.   I made the meal complete with a crisp, refreshing Proseco which paired very well with my dish.

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***Ford’s Fish Shack is located at 19308 Promenade Drive, Leesburg, VA 20176 and can be reached at fordsfishshack.com