Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Figs wrapped in Proscuitto


I've wanted to make this little recipe since I found it in a cookbook I purchased last December. I've had to wait all these lonely months in longing, and yesterday was my day. My friend HPS gave me a BASKETFUL of beautiful ripe figs and I sped to the store to buy the accompanying ingredients.

Black Mission figs are small and sweet and full of flavor. I rinsed them off, lopped off the stem and scored the top with an 'X' to place the treasure of goat cheese inside. The sweetness of the fig pairs so well with the tangyness of the cheese. From there, I wrapped each fig in proscuitto - a salty, cured Italian ham that is sliced paper thin. Securing it with a toothpick...I was ready to roll!



All of my beautiful figs were placed in an olive oil lined dish and baked at 350 for 15 minutes. The proscuitto crisps up, the goat cheese does this magic melting act...and what pops into your mouth is a bite of happiness. It's sweet, salty, tangy, rich - amazing and addicting to where you forget you've eaten 14 and still reach for more. Here's the 'just pulled it out of the oven' view:



Go buy figs, make this recipe - wow your family, friends, neighbors, guests of all ages - just MAKE THEM. You'll be so glad.

Figs. I love them. I now want them constantly.

Have a delicious day!
CC

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Melt, Spill and POP!


So, there I was, meandering through Food Lion for a few items, when I am given a coupon for a free two liter soft drink. Marvelous! I don't drink soft drinks, but it'll be a fun add to our church food bank. I pay for my groceries, head for the hills and decide to leave the 2 liter in the backseat of the car. Mistake.

Fast forward to that evening, we head to my parents for dinner and I end up coming home with a random open can of olives...it's precariously sitting with a few other items in the floorboard of my husband's car and then he has to hit the brakes. Ugh. Olive juice spills EVERYWHERE. We now have a black olive juice soaking the passenger side of the car. He puts the kids to bed, I opt for clean up duty and proceed to get eaten alive by mosquitos in the process.

Have I mentioned it's 102 degrees outside? Oh yes, 102. I'm in the garage sweating to death while cleaning up olive juice. It's not a pretty picture.

Fast forward to the next morning. I leave for choir practice with my mosquito bitten arms and legs and decide to take my four year old. I go to move the soft drink out of the way for him to sit down and lo and behold...the container of BUTTER I bought the day before is now a melted mess! All four sticks. All two dollars and ninety nine cents plus tax. The grocery bagger bagged the butter with the soft drink and I didn't realize it until now. It's oozed all over the drink, the bag and my car. Am I two for two in 102 degree weather or what? Big sigh, semi-quick cleanup and I'm on my way.

The plus in all of this is the most divine little fudgepop that I could possibly place in my mouth. One of my bestest friends placed a heafty catering order and one of the items I fixed: Brownie Pops. I must fix these for birthdays, showers, weddings, yard sales and random Tuesday afternoons for the rest of my life - they are AMAZING.

Fudge Brownie. Put it on a stick. Cover it in chocolate. Pure perfection.




Have a non-messy day - check your back seat for butter and please avoid spilling your olives.
CC

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert


I eat ice cream sandwiches poolside by the dozens. Who can eat just one? Someone with serious self control. The chocolatey cookie, the soft vanilla icecream - it's something no one should live life without experiencing. Take it to a new level by putting it into a dessert and it's an instant hit at a party and you're not embarrassingly licking your fingers and the wrapper to get every last speck of enjoyment out of it.

This recipe has been circulated far and wide - you probably have it in your grandma's church cookbook, but it bears sharing again as I recently made it and am smitten with ice cream sandwiches.

What you need:
1 box of 24 ice cream sandwiches
1 container of coolwhip
1 jar of carmel sauce
Hershey's Syrup (for garnish)

That's IT? Yep, sweet and simple.

You have to work fast on this, as the ice cream melts quickly...grab a 9x13 pyrex and let's get started!

Layer the bottom of your dish with ice cream sandwiches.



Then slather half of a container of Cool Whip on top.



Next, take a jar of carmel sauce and drizzle it over the cool whip. Don't go nuts here, just a nice drizzle.


Place another layer of ice cream sandwiches on top of this and finish it off with a final layer of Cool Whip and some Hershey's Syrup to jazz things up and make it look schmancy. (Crushed candy bars are also divine).



Place this in your freezer for a good 30 minutes before serving so the ice cream can refreeze again.



Enjoy friends! It's a fun, easy summertime treat.

Have a marvelous weekend and don't forget to go to church on Sunday!
CC

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tomato Contest

Top of the morning to you! Since I've been on a tomato tangent lately, I decided to continue with the theme and share my submission to the Earthfare Tomato Contest. Drumroll please....

I introduce to you: Professor Caterpillar! (can you tell I have children?)



I'm sending this off to Earthfare today and we'll see what happens. Half the fun of the contest was putting this together with my two boys. We were all sprawled out on the sidewalk, eating snacks and throwing rocks and I was answering 300 hundred questions about what we were doing, why we were doing it...while sneaking peanut butter from my son's pb&j to act as an adhesive for the googly eyes. It was a fun little diversion in our day and we enjoyed the fruits of our labor from the sidewalk to the salad bowl moments later for dinner. Success from every angle!

It's not too late for you to join in the fun! Contestants have until Friday to submit their picture to Earthfare.com

Have a delicious day!
CC

Monday, July 18, 2011

Eating my way through Summer - one Tomato at a time.



I wake up each day drooling - already anticipating what I'm going to eat for lunch. It's almost embarrassing. I don't know what I'm going to survive on once tomato season is over. Each day holds a spectactular fresh tomato sandwich that is almost too easy to post about, but too delicious not to share.

I start with two slices of wheat bread and EXTRA sharp cheddar cheese. It all gets toasted so that the cheese is a thick layer of melted goodness. Once I pull it out of the toaster oven, I generously slather mayonnaise on the other slice of naked bread. Ha! Naked bread.



From there, I slice a tomato - not just any tomato, mind you. It's a fresh home grown beauty from my father in law's garden. Every time he gives me a bag of lucious perfectly grown tomatoes I secretly wish for a backyard that will have optimal light in which to grow my own someday. Hey - a girl's gotta have dreams!

I place the thick slices of the most perfect tomatoes on my sandwich, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and gaze at the best sandwich on earth.



THAT is how I'm eating my way through summertime...one delicious tomato at a time.

Have a delicious day friends!
CC

Friday, July 15, 2011

Don't be afraid of the funky food.

Whenever I am eating out, I try to order something a little obscure to help broaden my culinary horizons. Now, there are limitations...but I am willing to try some unusual food combinations in hopes that I discover the next great food epiphany that forever changes my tastbuds.

I went out on a limb this week with a few concoctions that just downright didn't work...but a few others did and alas, I let out a contented sigh. There was a fun little tapas restaurant in St. Louis, Mosaic, that really had a fun approach to food. Order lots of small portions so you get to enjoy more of the menu. Had I not been sitting there with my boss, I would've housed the entire appetizer of hummus and deep fried artichoke hearts. The hummus was topped with fresh tomatoes, olives and goat cheese. Delightful!

I adore hummus, which reminds me that I need to add tahini paste to my grocery list so I can replicate this easy appetizer at home.

My meal started with the goofiest of salads - watermelon topped with goat cheese, black salt, mesculin and radish. It didn't work. I moved on to puff pastry filled with lavendar goat cheese, heirloom tomatoes and crimini mushrooms. It definitely worked. You can put goat cheese on everything but watermelon and it tastes amazing. I so wish I would have taken pictures...but again, sitting with my boss...hmmm. My final course was a seared duck breast with a carrot puree and some orzo bites with Indian spices. Mediocre and odd. It was like hunter meets baby food in New Delhi.

Dessert was the best thing I put in my mouth since the appetizers with a dulce de leche ice cream and cardomom flavored whipped cream topped with homemade almond brittle. Stunning presentation and delicious blend of flavors.

It was a funky meal and I'm glad I took the time to try the obscure. In similar fashion, I recently tried a flounder dish that was perched on top of a citrus and herb angel hair. How amazing was that? I was smitten with the use of the citrus in the pasta - it was the perfect complement to the fish. I was a bona fide member of the "Clean Plate Club" after this meal.



And finally, my summer love is fried green tomatoes - in a BLT! Why I have never thought of this combo before befuddles me, but here it is! There is a restaurant in Charlotte that makes a fried green tomato BLT but you should NOT order it. They serve it on a cheap wheat hamburger bun and it ruins the entire sandwich. It's so apalling, I almost want to give you the $8 to NOT eat it. Stick to a hearty grilled whole wheat toast for the ultimate in BLT experiences like the perfection pictured below.



Before you wrinkle your nose, give it a try. You might have a winner, a loser, or a mediocre non event but you'll never know until you take that bite!

Eat something delicious this weekend and don't forget to go to church on Sunday!
CC

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Earthfare Tomato Contest!


I've been traveling like mad and after clicking my heels 3 times, am glad to say 'There's no place like Home.' I came home to a minor crisis (besides the kitchen floor having a strange sticky film on it most likely from peach juice dripping from two and four year old chins) - we were down to one lonely little tomato. I had plans - big plans for baking some tomato pies and tarts and one little tomato put me in crisis mode.

Thankfully, it only took an email to my father in law to have a bag full of fresh picked wonderment appear at my front door within hours. I'm baking individual sized tomato basil tarts for a catering order and can't wait to get started.

Since we're on the subject of tomatoes, it might be fun to enter this great contest from Earthfare! If you have some spare time on your hands (What is that? Spare time? Huh?) or just feel the creative bones in your body aching for a fun contest, Earthfare is sponsoring a Tomato Contest. They have amazing prizes (to the tune of $500 in giftcards) and it involves photographing your tomatoes; clever, cute, crazy - you decide and upload it to their website.

I'll share mine when I squeeze a few minutes of spare time in my day...after baking these tomato tarts and mopping peach juice off the floor.

Have fun and I hope you win!

CC