June 30, 2012

Suumer at The Shore

Maine beaches can be vastly different in appearance. Darling said from the very beginning these beaches "just don't count!" What? I don't understand what you mean by this was my reply? In his mind, there is only one place that will forever hold his heart which is Florida, and so it is.......

Pine Point Beach in Scarborough, Maine

Pine Point Beach

Pine Point Beach

The Pier at Old Orchard Beach

Old Orchard Beach

York, Maine

July in York, Maine

Private Beach in Cape Elizabeth

Cape Elizabeth

We can say the ocean water was always COLD! The sand on the beach was normally brown and rather hard. Pine Point Beach was our favorite, as no matter what the season was, people loved the did the dogs! You would find people walking along the shore with their pooches in rain, snow or sunshine. Another thing we noticed was that the elderly, even with the aid of a walker or cane, did not let the weather keep them from the shore. You would often see them walking along the sidewalk by the beaches in order to get their exercise and breathe in the fresh ocean air. I just marveled at this.
It may not have been his beloved Florida beaches, but there is just something about the ocean and the just seems magical and renews your spirit!

2 cups dry red wine
1 navel orange, quartered
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar, divided
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
6 whole cloves
2 Bartlett pears, peeled, halved, and cored
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream

 In a 3 qt. saucepan, combine wine, orange pieces, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the cinnamon, cloves, and 2 cups water and bring to boil over high heat. Add pears, reduce heat to a simmer, and place on top of pears to submerge them in liquid. Cook, covered, until pears are tender when pierced, about 15 minutes.

 Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together cheese, cream, and 2 tbsp. sugar until very thick. Serve pear halves in shallow bowls, each with about 1/4 cup of the poaching liquid and a dollop of the sweetened cheese. Save remaining liquid for another use, such as making hot spiced wine, if you like.

June 29, 2012

White Sand and Sea Oats are Calling My Name

We are heading for the beach...during the
 Dog Days of Summer!

The family just looks forward to this family vacation about every two years. We usually plan our vacation in August, right before school starts for the grandchildren.  Are the days unbearably hot? Not like you might think actually. There is a breeze coming in off the ocean and we always have plenty of shelter from the sun.

Grandchildren stay busy with their boogie boards.

Then normally spend the afternoon asleep under the canopy!

This was Luke the Duke's first trip to the beach so we had to be extra careful to take him out early in the morning and keep him well covered from the sun. This year, he will be able to keep up with his older cousins and be a beach bunny most of the day!

This August shall be a little different. We are on to the next wedding! I never would have dreamed that the boys would have married just a few months apart. But what joyous and happy times they are!

We like to set the mood for our fish fry. Tiki torches, candles in big glass candleholders, yummy cocktail snacks take us into the night as we sit and listen to the ocean waves and reminisce about good times.

I used to make this delightful summer cake and take it to the staff  at the office for a special treat. It was gone before lunchtime. I am definitely making this the day that it's our turn to prepare dessert!

1 yellow cake mix
1 lb. cream cheese, softened
2 cups milk
3 1/2 ounce package instant vanilla pudding
2 (20 ounce) cans of crushed pineapple, drained
3 bananas
Large container of Cool Whip

Whip the softened cream cheese. Add milk and pudding and continue to blend together with a hand mixer. Set aside. Bake cake according to package directions in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Let cool. Cover with the pineapple, cream cheese, pudding mixture and slice the 3 bananas over the cake. Cover with cool whip and you are ready to serve. Keep covered and refrigerated.

June 28, 2012

The Wedding....Part Two

Did their feet ever touch the ground?

We got moon light, all night
Lord I pray on the next star I see tonight never lose this thing we found
Your by my side, I can do without the city lights
I fly so high when you’re around yeah my feet don’t touch the ground~Stoney Larue

June 27, 2012

The Wedding.....Moonlight and Fireworks!

The wedding on Elizabeth's ranch was so beautiful. I promised to post some highlights showing some of the best of the best pictures. The wind was rather high that day, but we perservered and prayed that the rain held off, which it did! Nick and Cat planned their entire wedding at the heart of the homeplace and it was a grand celebration indeed!

They chose a place that was more of a "bring your glass of wine and hangout" kind of space. It was one of those rare moments in life in which the memory does not fade, when you watched the bride dancing with her own Mr. Wonderful, under a starlit night sky, with a burst of fireworks in the background…...

June 21, 2012

Miss Alma's Pound Cake...No Substitions!

Miss Alma was a dear friend of Mothers. She had a husband who lavished her with expensive gifts. She had a magnificent country home and she had four children.  I loved her husband who dressed to the nines, smelled of expensive cologne and bourbon.... and had a huge and hearty laugh! Miss Alma's  daughter Beth and I were the same age and close friends. The oldest son, David, became a doctor and was rather good-looking. The two small boys were hell on earth! Horrible I tell you! We went on several vacations together and visited each other often. They lived in North Mississippi in a very small town, so everyone knew when we were visiting. Miss Alma and Mother often exchanged recipes and the one thing Miss Alma made that was to die for was this......

Once we moved home to Texas, I so looked forward to unpacking all of our books, especially my cookbook collection. I have been pouring over them ever since! We bought three new bookshelves for our media room upstairs and they are BEAUTIFUL! It is soooo good to have our library of books out on display. We never unpacked them in Maine and thank goodness for that since our stay was not as long as expected. Anyhoo......I am going to share with you one of the BEST POUNDCAKES EVER! Mother wrote on the recipe card to be sure to use real substitutions!! Yes Ma'am!!

Miss Alma's Pound Cake
2 sticks of butter
1 2/3 cup sugar
A Pinch of Salt
2 cups flour
5 eggs

Cream butter and sugar well. Blend in salt. Add flour and beat well. Gradually add eggs, one at a time, until all five have been added and mixed well. Bake in a slow oven @ 300 degrees F. for 50 minutes.

Estelle's is serving this tonight with lemon curd, fresh strawberries and sweetened whipped cream! Oh yeah.......

June 20, 2012

Entertaining This Summer!

Summertime is the best time to get together with friends outdoors. Make time to relax and unwind with friends this season with a dinner party on your patio or deck!

Patio Decorating Ideas
Candles in the evening
Tiki torches
Decorated gourds from your garden
Freshly potted plants and flowers
A few Container gardens
Center pieces made out of fresh flowers and herbs

Create a simple dinner menu that is scrumptious but that won’t break the bank. Depending on the dietary needs and size of your group you can come up with a very tasty menu that is bound to please everyone in the group. 

Cannelloni Filling
8 ounces chicken breasts, cooked
1 ounce fresh spinach, chopped
1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
16 ounces ricotta cheese
3 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
12 sheets lasagna noodles

Cannelloni Sauce
16 ounces alfredo sauce
16 ounces marinara sauce
3 ounces parmesan cheese, grated

Dice the chicken breast into 1/2-inch pieces and place into a large mixing bowl. Add spinach, tomatoes, ricotta, mozzarella, pepper and salt, and mix thoroughly.

Arrange precooked pasta sheets on a cutting board and place two or three rounded tablespoons of filling mixture down the center of each pasta sheet and carefully roll pasta around filling in a cigar fashion.

Place the rolled cannelloni, side by side, into an ovenproof shallow baking dish. Place Alfredo sauce and tomato sauce in bowl and mix until well incorporated. Pour sauce over cannelloni covering completely.

Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over top of sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for approximately 20 minutes.

Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 165°F is reached. Remove from oven and serve family style or on individual plates garnished with fresh diced tomatoes, and basil or Italian parsley.

June 19, 2012

A Dog and His Ball........And He Lived Happily Ever After!

This is Franz!

He is our grand-dog

Franz is a Rottweiler who was rescued on the side of a very busy highway by our daughter-in-law Catherine. Now Catherine was raised on a ranch in Texas, so she is not fearful of much. When she spotted this poor young puppy wandering in and out of traffic, she pulled over on the side of the  road and coaxed him into her car. Now, I would have been scared to death of him. Normally, big black dogs scare me and especially Rottweilers.

Franz swimming under the watchful eye of his Mom and Dad

Miss Catherine immediately drove to the Vet's office and had this little guy checked out and ensured he was now fully vaccinated and passed all of his medical tests in order to receive a good bill of health!

Keeping his eye on the Ball

You know how they say that animals know when they are in good hands, that they are safe and have been rescued from a wayward life? Well, it is very apparent that Franz knows he is loved. He found himself smack dab in the middle of a loving family, just by chance, and is now living the good life!  He goes everywhere with his adopted family. He runs on the ranch, where he has lots of puppy pals, he sleeps in air condition, he receives lots of hugs and kisses from Abbs and Noah and he obviously enjoys coming to Grandma and Papa's house to take a summer dip in the pool!

Yes, ole Franz is a gentle soul.
A rescued puppy who has become a beloved pet in the Smith household!

These are perfect to serve after a day of chillin' in the pool!

Estelle's Beef Brisket Quesadillas

The Brisket
1 4-lb beef brisket, trimmed
1 T chili powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1 t cumin
1/2 t coarse ground black pepper
1 T brown sugar
1 cup smoky barbecue sauce
1/2 cup beef broth

The Quesadillas
1 large onion, chopped and sautéed
4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
4 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 (16-oz) can refried beans
7 extra large (burrito-size) flour tortillas

To prepare the brisket, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the brisket in a large casserole dish or roasting pan; set aside. Combine the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, black pepper, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Rub on both sides of the brisket.

In another small bowl, combine the barbecue sauce and beef broth. Pour over the brisket. Cover the dish or pan with foil and bake for 3 hours. Remove the foil and bake for 1 more hour, or until fork-tender and the liquid has reduced. Allow the brisket to cool then cover and refrigerate it (in the remaining sauce) for 24 hours.

To prepare the quesadillas, preheat the oven to 250°F. Remove the brisket from the fridge and discard any fat that may have accumulated on the surface of the liquid. Place the brisket on a large cutting board and cut the meat, against the grain, into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place half of the brisket slices into a large saucepot with half of its liquid. Heat on low and break up the meat slightly. (Place the other half of the meat and the liquid, if desired, into a zip-top bag or an air-tight container and freeze for later use.)

Lay out 7 flour tortillas. Spread a thin layer of refried beans on one half of each of each tortilla. (Use the whole can.) Divide the warm brisket over the beans. Top with the sautéed onions and cheese and fold up the tortillas.

Pour about 1/3 cup of oil in a large sauté pan or griddle and set the heat to medium-high. Gently place the quesadillas in the hot oil and brown each side. Keep the finished quesadilla warm in the oven and repeat this process until all the quesadillas have been fried. Slice each quesadilla into 4 wedges and serve.

June 16, 2012

A Taste of Childhood....Smells Like Sunday!

"My approach to cooking is simple because for the most part our foods are simple. But that does not mean it's boring. Coming from a family of hard working farmers, let me tell you, the farming life leaves precious few hours for anything but simple cooking. I am pretty much stuck in the past. I still cook the basic, simple survival foods, dishes that brought us through the Great Depression and the hard times of failed crops and lean harvests.

Our original family home no longer stands. The old wood-burning cookstove has rusted into pieces. The silver teas are a thing of the past. But precious recipes are still intact and the tastes and smells of the foods of my childhood let me know I can go back again. This recipe will take you back to a world of old-fashioned family cooking and Southern country warmth and hospitality."~ Dorie Sanders

"The day Aunt Vestula decreed that we should cook a little chicken and ground beef together as we needed to stretch the ingredients, was the day this wonderfully tasty dish was created. " Dorie Sanders grew up near York, South Carolina. She is the author of two best selling novels, Clover and Her Own Place.  She does most of her writing in the winter and reserves her time during the peach growing season for work on the family farm and at Sanders Farm Stand. Her cookbook, Country Cooking, Recipes and stories from the Family Farmstand, is one of my all time favorite cookbooks and her recipe for Chicken Fricassee with Meatballs was one of our all time family favorites!

The Chicken
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 lb lean ground beef
fresh ground black pepper
1 small onions, chopped
1/8 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil

First of all make the meatballs by combining all the meatball ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Shape mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and brown in a single layer in the oil, over medium high heat, turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Wipe the skillet clean.

Wash chicken and pat dry. In a shallow bowl, combine the 3/4 cup flour, seasonings and mix well. Dredge the chicken in this mixture to coat, shaking off any excess flour. In skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken and brown on all sides about 4 minutes per side. Remove and set aside. Pour off the oil from the skillet, leaving only a thin layer. Add the chopped onion and saute over medium high heat until tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the 2 tsp flour and mix well. Add the stock and wine, stirring gently to blend. Cook until thickened. Return the chicken and meatballs to skillet. Cover and braise over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes until chicken and meatballs are cooked through. Adjust seasoning and serve with rice or little noodles. Alternatively, chicken, meatballs and sauce can be layered in a covered casserole and cooked in a slow oven for several hours.

June 15, 2012

Chiffon.....Perfect for Summer!

It's time to head to the beach. The wind blows through your hair.
 The warm sun bathes your skin. Soft golden sand caresses your feet.
The waves sing to a perfect rhythm and the 
sea oats gently sway against the breeze.
 If you love the sun and the sea, the beach is the right destination for you.
So grab your sun tan lotion and
your Frisbee and go frolicking to the beach!

Chiffon cake on a summer afternoon? What could be more perfect to serve your guests? My home economics teacher at Ole Miss, Mrs. Williams,  always said, " must learn to make a good chiffon cake for those hot summer months. It's almost the same as "wearing" will be cool and refreshing....light and airy...and will make you appear as if you are the perfect hostess!" Don't you just love that?  

Lemon Orange Chiffon Cake

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons orange zest
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Lemon-Orange Buttercream Frosting

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine first 4 ingredients in bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer. Make a well in center of flour mixture; add oil, egg yolks, and orange juice. Beat at medium-high speed 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth. Stir in zest.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into flour mixture. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350° for 17 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour). Spread Lemon-Orange Buttercream Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.

Orange Buttercream Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 (32-oz.) package powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon additional fresh orange juice

Beat butter, orange zest, and lemon zest at medium speed with an electric mixer 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy; gradually add powdered sugar alternately with lemon juice and 5 Tbsp. fresh orange juice, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Add up to 1 Tbsp. additional fresh orange juice, 1 tsp. at a time, until desired consistency is reached.