Thursday, July 31, 2008

Give Away Winners and Honey Graham S'more Bars

Congratulations to all the winners of our first give away. How I wish I was Prudence Pound Foolish and give a gift to everyone. Let's do it again soon.

I loved reading your responses. It seems that most of us started off our kitchen careers with chocolate chip cookies, scrambled eggs, pudding, or chocolate cake. I could survive for days on such good food. One reader's first meal was a Thanksgiving dinner, another a chocolate candy pie for the neighbor's party that bit the dust on their front walkway. With varying degrees of initial success, it's good to know that we've all made our ways back into the kitchen.
I used a random integer website to determine the winners. While I know many of my readers personally, the computer chose four readers that I don't know from Adam. I'm glad! And don't worry, Mom. Even though you didn't win, I'll buy you the Ina Garten anyway.
#65 Amber (egg salad for 4 H) wins the Ina Garten cookbook, #129 Steph (classic chocolate chip cookies) wins Dorie Greenspan's, #79 The Begleys (snickerdoodles) win the coffecake pan, and #88 The Boudins (banana and chocolate shake) win the Bundt pan with tunnel insert. Email me at vsmylroie@aol.com within the week to claim your prize.
For the rest of us, I'm sharing my version of the classic indoor smore's recipe from Golden Grahams cereal. I just can't leave recipes alone, but I think you'll appreciate my tinkering on this one.They're so easy, it's almost silly. Even though we often make real smore's around the firepit, I still can't resist these ooey gooey bars, crunchy with graham cereal, silky with milk chocolate, and gooey with bits of marshmallow. The secret is to freeze some extra marshmallows and then toss them in with the cereal. Make a batch for a potluck and watch them disappear.

Milk Chocolate and Honey Graham Smore's

Estimated Cost: $4.00

Notes: These are yummy enough that I have to make them at least once a summer. Even if we make lots of the real smores. I don't mean to sound like a 1950's radio announcer but "Kids love'um!"

1/3 cup honey

2 tablespoons butter

6 ounces milk chocolate bars, such as Hershey

1 and 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows, plus 1 cup frozen miniature marshmallows

1 teaspoon vanilla

5 cups golden grahams cereal, slightly crushed

Grease an 8 inch by 8 inch square baking dish. In a medium saucepan, bring honey and butter to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in 1 and 1/2 cups marshmallows and chocolate and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, golden grahams, and frozen marshmallows. Stir just until combined and press into baking dish. Press mixture flat with slightly wet fingers. Cut into bars and serve.

You can also make this in a microwave. Just melt first ingredients in a microwaveable bowl and add in the frozen marshmallows, cereal, and vanilla.

Coming Tomorrow:

Pioneer Grub

Beans and Cornbread

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Last Day for Give Away and Ten Greatest Hits

Be sure to scroll down and submit your entry to my first give-away. You've got a shot at four great prizes, from Bundt and coffee cake pans, to Dorie Greenspan and Ina Garten's latest cookbooks. In honor of my 100th post, I've been reviewing and reminiscing about the greatest hits. I listen to my readers, and I'm certain you have better taste than I do. It was hard to decide! I stand by all my recipes and love to share them with you. I tried to focus on some of the earlier ones, but if there was more space, I'd also include Peach Barbecue Chicken, Chocolate Pudding Ice Cream, Pantry Hummus with Cumin Tortilla Chips, Honey and Lime Cilantro Chicken, Whole Wheat coblerettes, Lemon Glazed Scones, Summer Vegetable Fajitas, and the Tomatillo Cilantro Buttermilk Dressing. But here they are....the 10 greatest hits since I started blogging a few months ago....

1. Buttermilk Fudge Brownies..... Fudgey and Cakey at once. 2. Spice Rubbed Chicken.... You'll have a punch packing dinner on the table in ten minutes.
3. Fire Roasted Salsa.... Five minutes and you'll be dipping away.4. Flank Steak Tacos with Cilantro Slaw Cool and refreshing with a bit of heat and grilled meat. 5. Tricia Shaw's Baked Beans Smoky, Sweet and Irresistible6. Sweet and Tangy Root Beer Baby Back Ribs- A reduced soda pop glaze coats these babies.
7. Soy and Lime Tri Tip A simple marinade on a beefy cut. 8. Chocolate Glazed Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars I can't stop craving these hearty bars. 9. Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers My Award winning Rachael Ray burger 10. Meyer Lemon Baby Cakes Soft and Tender Lemon Cakes with Candied Zest

Coming Tomorrow:

The Winners of my First Give Away

plus Sticky Milk Chocolate Smore's Bars

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: White Peach and Honey Galette with Blackberry Salty Cashew Ice Cream

Grab a fork, and tuck a napkin under your chin. It's Tuesdays with Dorie....
But first, I've got good news: four fun give-aways from yesterday's post in honor of 100 Prudy posts in about as many days. Scroll down for a chance to win a copy of Dorie's cookbook, plus some other fun prizes.
This week, our assignment was a galette, which is essentially a free form pie-no pie dish needed. Sorry, old buddy Pyrex- but we can still be friends. I don't mean to be a rebel, but I just can't seem to follow the recipes exactly as I'm told. Try to understand, oh skinny Dorie. I had to make my tried and true old pie crust (with half whole wheat) from the Joy of Cooking. I never thought it was a low fat pie crust, until I made Dorie's super-EXTRA buttery crust, so now I make just a regular super buttery pie crust so I can fit into my jeans on Wednesdays.
The Quiet Man bought me a paper sack full of gorgeous white peaches. Who needs a dozen roses when such Garden of Eden fruit is to be had? It was hard to not eat them pie-less, plain, and perfect.
Dorie's recipe calls for a jam brushing over the center of the rolled-out crust; I used honey to compliment the natural sweetness of the peaches. The cut peaches are place in the center of the crust and then the edges are crimped and folded to encase the edges of the fruit. A sprinkling of sugar (I ditched the original recipe's custard topping) was all that rustic simplicity required.
DEE-LISH-US! Really truly. I made my pie for about $5.00, but the cost will vary greatly depending on your choice of fruit. Always try to use what you can find fresh and cheap. For complete recipe, click here.
But I couldn't stop there. If I'm going to indulge in pie, well, by golly it might as well be pie and ice cream. Peaches and blackberries are a marriage made in heaven, particularly with some roasted salted cashews thrown in for crunch and flavor balance. The ice cream is a simple adaptation on my friend Stephanie's vanilla ice cream.
Blackberry and Salty Cashew Ice Cream
Estimated Cost: $5.00
1 (10 ounce) can sweetened, condensed milk
1 cup whipping cream
3 cups milk (low fat is fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup blackberries, crushed (I used frozen)
1/2 cup chopped roasted salted cashews

Combine condensed milk, cream, milk, and vanilla in the bowl of the ice cream maker. Process according to manufacturer's directions in ice cream maker. When ice cream is thick, stir in blackberries and cashews.
Coming Tomorrow:
Top 10 Greatest Recipes from the last 100

Monday, July 28, 2008

100th Post-Four Give Aways..... and still thinking of Greatest Hits

Time's Up. Thanks for entering.
Phew! I've made it through my first 100 posts.
It's taken a hearty dose of perseverance with a healthy dollop of obsession and a pinch of sleeplessness to pull it off. Thank you, dear readers, for coming every day, for leaving comments, and for being my friends. I feel a peculiar sense of kinship with so many of you, considering we really haven't "met." I read the first posts I wrote, and I cringe at the robotic stiffness and formal style. 100 posts later, I barely hit spell check any more, since I feel like I'm sharing anecdotes and recipes with a next door neighbor over a chocolate chip cookie.

And our numbers are growing, up from less than 100 readers a week to about 4500. I'm excited to have my first give away, and I hope you'll tell your friends and family to come and enter as well. You're also welcome to post a link from your blog, if so inclined. With four winners, the odds are looking pretty good.

Contest ends July 30, 2008 at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. Winners will be randomly chosen. One entry per person and don't forget to post a name if you post as "anonymous." Answer the following question in the comment section to be eligible: What was the first recipe you remember making alone?




Prizes are:
#1: Ina Garten's newest "Back to Basics" cookbook. It's so new it's not even available yet-but I'll place the order at Amazon and have it delivered right to you. This one is going to be good-maybe her best yet-since the focus is simple ingredients and basic techniques.
#2 Dorie Greenspan's inspiring iconic guide.: Baking, From My Home to Yours. If you've been here on Tuesdays, then you've already had a generous preview. My favorite recipes include the cherry-rhubarb cobbler, world peace cookies, chocolate pudding churned to ice cream, and cocoa buttermilk birthday cake. And I'm just getting started....
#3 A red Nordicware coffee cake tube pan. I have one in periwinkle blue; it's perfect for an elegant yet homey Sunday morning cake. It makes such a pretty display, you almost don't even want to cut in.
#4 An apple green classic bundt cake pan, plus a tunnel of bundt insert. Bundt cakes are beautiful on their own, but with this extra insert, you can include a surprise inside out frosting, filling or ice cream.

I'll post my top 1o out of my past 100 favorite recipes on Wednesday. Decisions, decisions! I'm choosing based on reader feedback, so let me know if you have a stand-out favorite.

Coming Tomorrow:
Tuesdays with Dorie
White Peach and Honey Galette with Blackberry-Salty Cashew Ice Cream

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Random Thoughts and Cooking Awards

I was tagged for this six random thoughts meme from Kathryn at Smoky Mountain Cafe and Pamela at Cookies with Boys.

Here I share six random things about myself (don't I do that everyday?), and pass on the meme to six others.
1. I had over sixty extra units when I got my Bachelor's degree. The problem is that I love so many things: nutrition, Spanish literature, Romance philology, advertising, educational psychology, sociology, English, botany, organizational theory, humanities, world religions, legal research... Those sixty extra units come in handy when you're playing Jeopardy and also for homeschooling.
2. I'm a puzzle lover: crossword, sudoku, cryptograms, Rubik's cube, even jigsaw.
3. I ran a marathon a couple of years ago (ow-ooh-my aching feet) and try to run at least a half marathon yearly. I wake up almost every morning wanting to skip my run, but then I feel on top of the world when I'm done.
4. When someone describes a movie as boring, it's almost a sure bet that I'm going to love it. Stuffy old English drawing room cinema is right up my alley.
5. I have severe wanderlust. If I hadn't had children, I might have become a gypsy. Now I want to be a mother gypsy. I'm always scheming my next trip.
6. I wish I could be more like my husband. He's quiet and noble and admirable and true and unflinching, and never ever puts his foot in his mouth or yells at his children. The amazing thing is that he likes me the way I am, noisy, moody, fickle and hopelessly imperfect.
Now, as for the Blog Awards: I had a lucky week! I'm the proud recipient of three sparkling new awards (see sidebar). There are so many excellent and lovely food blogs out there that I will have no problem sharing the love. Except, I'll do it slowly, over the next few weeks. And in a cruel twist of fate, I'm assigning these newly awarded blogs the random meme assignment from above and the music meme assignment below. Every rose has a thorn, they say. I'll start with the Brilliante Bog Award from Pamela.
1. Shannon at Writing As I Eat: Shannon is a cooking contest buddy and we've been at Pillsbury and National Chicken together. I haven't seen her in a while, which means I should get busy and enter some contests. She's witty and clever and very down to earth, even though she's a superstar in the kitchen.

2. The Hungry Housewife: The name alone one puts me in a good mood. Housework makes me hungry and being a housewife might sound frumpy, but not so with her. She's gorgeous and silly and you could bet you'd never leave her house hungry.

3. Aggie's Kitchen: One of my go to comfy blogs of choice. Aggie makes real people food that is eminently eatable and always beautiful.

4. Cookie Madness: You've probably already been there, but it bears repeating. Anna (another cooking contest buddy that hit the BIG time at Pillsbury) makes a yummy treat just about daily, plus shares tidbits of wisdom and humour. If I had a baking question, I'd probably ask Anna first.

5. Cat's Pajamas: You'll love reading about her lip licking recipes, plus life with her hardworking military husband sounds pretty idyllic, too.

6. Grandma's Kitchen: Kayte could be at the pool all day, watching her athlete sons beat the speedos off all the other kids. When she's done cheering, she comes in and whips up comfy hearty food that could make champs out of all of us.

7. Sophie at Flour Arrangements: Sophie is every bit as sweet as her original recipes. Her spoon full-of-sugar ways make it a literal and figurative treat to visit her blog.

Also, Sophie tagged me for a Music meme, which I'm also passing on to the newly minted award winners above. I'm not savvy (not to mention cool) enough to put on an ipod or youtube link on here, but I bet you've already heard all my summer favorites anyway.



1. Bob Marley-Stir It Up

2. The Beatles-Here Comes the Sun

3. Dean Martin- Good Morning Life

4. Jimmy Durante-As Time Goes By (in honor of my summer anniversary)

5. Van Morrison-Brown Eyed Girl

6. Go Gos- Vacation

Coming Tomorrow:

My 100th Post-Prudy's Greatest Hits

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Creamy Tomatillo Cilantro Dressing

I know, I know, I was just saying that I can't get good Mexican food around here, when I actually have a Cafe Rio not too far away. But what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't reminisce and whine on occasion? On Cafe Rio's menu is a sensational creamy tomatillo dressing, so addictive that I've been forced to unlock the secret combination of ingredients. It's yummy on greens, but you'll want to drown all of your Mexican favorites in the slippery-spicy concoction. You'll either be grateful for my persistent tinkering, or you'll hate me when you slide into a pint a day habit.

Creamy Tomatillo Cilantro Dressing
Estimated Cost: $2.50
Notes: If you can't find the Herdez green salsa, substitute 4 husked tomatillos plus 1 tablespoon chopped jalapenos.
1/2 cup mayonnaise or whole milk yogurt
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup tomatillo salsa, such as Herdez
1 fat clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
juice of one lime
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
Process all ingredients in the blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until thickened, about 1 hour.
Coming Tomorrow:
Random Meme plus a Blog Award

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken

While I'm partial to just about any Mexican food, thanks to my savory Southern California upbringing, I'm especially drawn toward any Mexican dishes that include grilled meat. Just catching the scent of a smoky barbacoa can send me headlong into wishing I'd stayed in the overcrowded land of taco shacks. Those cravings are especially powerful on Friday nights, so I fulfill my own Mexican mania with my Cilantro Honey Lime Grilled Chicken .
Thankfully, it doesn't take long to make and I've almost always got everything on hand. Its crowning virtue is versatility. You can shred up this chicken and stuff it into tacos, bathed in salsa and slathered with guacamole. Or you can rev up your chicken enchiladas with a little flavor from the grill. But it's also toothsome as is, plain, with a little heap of red Spanish rice on the side. Grill a few extra pieces to slice and scatter over some greens tomorrow with some Creamy Cilantro Tomatillo Dressing-one of my most requested recipes ever. I'll post that recipe tomorrow, so come on back. Hasta Luego.
Cilantro Honey Lime Grilled Chicken
Estimated Cost: $4.00
Notes: Saving a little marinade on the side to drizzle on the chicken gives it an extra pop of flavor.
1 lb. boneless, skinless chickens
1/3 cup lime juice plus 1 teaspoon lime zest
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 chopped jalapeno or serrano pepper, optional
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup chopped cilantro, leaves and tender stems
Rinse chicken and pat dry. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, zest, olive oil, garlic, jalapeno, salt and pepper and honey. Set aside two tablespoons of mixture. Pour remaining mixture into zip top bag. Add chicken and cilantro and squish bag to coat. Marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. Grill (or broil) chicken over medium high heat, about four minutes per side. Let rest for five minutes. Drizzle with reserved marinade and serve.
Coming Tomorrow:
Creamy Cilantro Tomatillo Dressing

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Barefoot Thursdays: Feta Herb Spread

Wiggle your toes and get out your whisks. It's time for Barefoot Thursdays... This week, our assignment was Ina Garten's Smoked Salmon Spread. While I'm sure it's delicious if you are a fan of dried salmon, I veered in a fish-free direction and converted my spread into a crudite (raw vegetable) dip. What is about the process of dipping that is so pleasurable and indulgent? I think dip must be magical. I offer as evidence the long list of food that you can convince children to eat with a little dip. Well, actually, for adults too. Raw broccoli just isn't that spectacular alone and naked. (I'm talking about the broccoli-not me! Shame on you!)
This dip will make your broccoli spectacular, fully dressed, and companionable. It's light, lemony, not too bad for you and totally addictive; oh so much better than any lousy packet of dried french onion dip mix you find at the store. Although, I've been known to eat that, too. With mediocre grocery store brand chips. I told you dip was magical.
Lemon Herb Spread
Estimated Cost: $3.50
Notes: I served this dip with a platter of colorful vegetables, but it would also work well with long pretzels, french bread, or crackers.
4 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/2 cup light sour cream or plain yogurt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as mint, basil, cilantro, or dill
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 teaspoon horseradish, drained
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Mix cream cheese and sour cream until well combined. Add remaining ingredients. Chill until serving time. Sprinkle with additional green onions, herbs and pepper before serving.
Coming Tomorrow:
Grilled Honey and Lime Chicken

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Roasted Garlic, Tomato, and Basil Squares

Since the tomatoes are heavy-fat and scarlet-red on the vine, it's only fitting that they take center stage at meal time. Here's a best-tomato worthy recipe that I developed for Cooking Light Magazine in 2006. At that time, they were hunting for reader recipes for their first annual cook off. I submitted a couple of recipes, and was invited to attend the cook off for my Summer Chicken Piccata. Later they asked permission to also run this recipe in the magazine in the May 2006 issue. What an honor-but also a testament to how savory and delicious it is. I trust Cooking Light. So trust CL and me-you'll love it, and with it's healthy profile it will love you right back.
Roasted Garlic, Tomato, and Basil Squares
My Recipe for Cooking Light Magazine May 2006
Estimated Cost: $5.00
Notes: You can double the dough and freeze half for another flat bread. You can make this crust with at least half whole wheat for a heartier and healthier recipe. If you're pressed for time, don't make dough at all. Use purchased pizza dough or even slather the toppings on French bread.

Ingredients
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
3 cups all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces), divided
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
1 whole garlic head
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
2 cups chopped plum tomato (about 9 ounces)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preparation: Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 3/4 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt to yeast mixture, stirring until well blended. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes); add enough of remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400°.
While dough rises, remove white papery skin from garlic head (do not peel or separate the cloves). Wrap head in foil. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes; cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper; sprinkle with cornmeal. Place dough on prepared baking sheet. Roll dough into a 15 x 10-inch rectangle. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned; remove from oven. Combine garlic pulp, tomato, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Spread cheese mixture over crust; bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into 12 squares.
Coming Tomorrow:
Barefoot Thursdays
Lemon Feta Spread with Colorful Veggies

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Make Your Own Whole Wheat and Brown Sugar Cobblerettes

Rev up your mixers, it's time for Tuesdays with Dorie. Put on a pink leather apron, hop on and bake along.
This week, I've taken Dorie's Cherry Rhubarb cobbler recipe and tweaked it just a weensy bit to make four individualized cobblers for my family. (For the pure recipe, head over to Sprinkles on a Cupcake) First of all, I loved the idea of itty bitty cobblers that would not only bake fast in the July-hot oven but also not be around tomorrow for me to devour again. I also wanted to go whole wheat (every little bit helps) with a little extra sweetness from an added sprinkling of brown sugar. Third, everyone around here has an opinion (i.e. loud argument) about what I'm going to be baking. This time I thought I could spit the old adage in the eye and really please every single person. Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm baking for peace and family harmony now. Oom...
You'll need about 1 cup of fruit per person. I chose peaches and raspberries, Quiet Man went with peaches and blackberries, and the two little charges took their berries pure. My favorite was the plain blackberry, just when it was almost one with the melting ice cream-warm and cold perfection. Each and every one was juicy and delicious-like a hearty, cookie-topped, crustless pie. They turned out so well that I'm considering making them again tomorrow. So much for not wanting leftovers around. Peace and harmony make me hungry.
Make your Own Whole Wheat and Brown Sugar Cobblerettes
Estimated Cost:$4.00 for four-depending on fruit
Notes: I used frozen berries with great results. This would make a great party dish, since you could quickly pop it in the oven after dinner and serve every one's favorite cobbler with a melting scoop of vanilla ice cream.
4 cups summer stone fruits, sliced and berries, in any combination
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
For Dough:
1/2 cup whole wheat
1 packed tablespoon brown sugar (plus 2 teaspoons for later)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 375. Coat 4 (8 ounce) ramekins with cooking spray. In each ramekin, place one cup fruit, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch. Carefully mix. In a small separate bowl, combine flour, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea size pieces. Add cream and gently stir mixture into dough. Shape into 12 small balls and place three on each cobbler; sprinkle each cobbler with 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar on just the dough portion. Place cobblers on cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cobblers are lightly browned and juices are bubbling. Let cool for five minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Coming Tomorrow:
Tomato and Basil Flatbread

Monday, July 21, 2008

Food and Furthermore XI: Rhubarb Streusel Coffee Cake

Home again, home again, jiggety jig....Well, actually, we're not quite all the way home yet. We are back in the States and having picked up the children (who seem to have barely noticed that we were gone) at Aunt Heidi's house, we are making the four hour drive home this morning. I'm plotting ways to get back to the Canadian Rockies with the whole family, this time with tent and sleeping bags in tow. It seems almost sacrilegious to stay in a hotel with this kind of beauty outside, doesn't it? Furthermore, we're raising our kids to love good ol' cheap tent camping.

Although, I'm not sure I could relax on the Columbia icefield with my two charges running around. I can just imagine my little cowboy starting an avalanche.
Or canoing on Lake Louise, icy glacial water awaiting anyone who rocks the boat, and what five year old boy would not rock the boat? But I'm pretty sure that I could safely take them to the cucumber farm without fearing death-although there are reports of a wandering black bear in the area....can you spot him? And while visiting the cucumber farm, the owners Mr. and Mrs. Charest, would hopefully share their rhubarb streusel coffee cake again. What a way to greet visitors! If you want to garner my loyalty, feed me a generous square of moist and delicious coffee cake, bejeweled with little pieces of rhubarb and topped with a hearty sprinkling of brown sugar streusel. Mrs. Charest was kind enough to share this recipe, plus the four big servings that Quiet Man and I greedily gobbled up. Give it a try and taste for yourself the remarkable flavor of Canadian Hospitality. I can't wait to get some more. Rhubarb Streusel Coffee Cake
Estimated Cost: $3.00
Notes: Use whatever fruit you've got on hand in place of the rhubarb. The obvious choice would be blueberries, but chopped plums, apricots or peaches would be lovely for a summer coffee cake.
1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chopped rhubarb, or other fruit
For Streusel:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Stir in flour and soda, stirring just until blended. Add rhubarb and pour into greased 9 by 13. Combine all streusel ingredients and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until springy in the center.
Coming Tomorrow:
Tuesdays With Dorie-Blackberry Peach Cobbler

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Oh Canada

Just in case you were concerned about unrealistic models portraying an unattainable image of perfection, get a load of this guy.And I thought all advertising was aspirational....

If I buy this gum, can I be like him?

We're leaving Canada this afternoon and I'll be taking with me some exciting memories of gorgeous waterfalls, stunning mountains, crystal blue lakes.... and a very white man in an orange Speedo.

Funny thing is, I went to Calgary when I was 8 years old with my family. My stand out memory from that trip was a swim in the high-rise hotel pool. A very white man had come to swim laps wearing a Canadian flag Speedo. The sides and back of the Speedo were red, the front was white with a flaming red maple leaf sprawled out over the extreme center . Why is this the memory that persists through time? Why can't I remember my high school history lessons or the formula for pi? Why is the Canadian flag Speedo in the brain file of unforgettable memories?

At least I've got another Speedo memory to add to my Canadian travelogue. I'll never forget it. That and the little old man that asked us if we were on our honeymoon. Sort of, mister, sort of.
Coming Tomorrow:
That Rhubarb Streusal Coffee Cake