Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ina Garten's Irish Soda Bread

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl, with the pedal attachment.

Add the cold butter

In a medium bowl slightly combine the cold buttermilk, egg and orange zest.  

Slowly add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients in the mixture while the paddle is in motion

In a small combine a tablespoon of flour to the cup of currants

Per Ina, this prevents the currants from falling to the bottom

Add the currants to the dough, mix just until combined

Remove the dough onto a well floured surface.  Knead just a couple of times and shape into a ball

With a serrated knife, make a small cross at the top (I went a little too deep :\  but it didn't hurt it.  Bake for 45-55 minutes.  To test the bread to see if it's done,  thump it and it should sound hollow

Let cool or serve warm.

Look how wonderful the currants are distributed throughout the bread?

I used to hate to make anything from scratch, can you imagine that?  If it came in a box, it must be good, right??  My hubby has always liked his birthday cake from scratch, he only asked for it once a year and being the good wife that I am, I made it even though I still grumbled about it.  It just took too much time to put together and to bake.  But now that I'm older and wiser, I rarely and I really mean that, I RARELY make anything from a box anymore, can't even remember the last time I made cake or bread from the box.  I vow to never do it again, anywho.....

This recipe is so simple and the results are marvelous.  Homemade breads and cakes come out thicker, heavier and tastier.  What a perfect sidekick to our morning coffee. 

I'm savoring the weekend, how about you?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Help, any Gardeners Out There?!?

(Click on image to get closer look of leaves)

Any you gardeners out there know what kind of plant this is?

I have two of these, they're growing in a round bush about 10 feet from each other.

They weren't there in the last two years most likely because the deer who were able to get into our yard didn't give it them a chance.

Deer can't get in our yard anymore ever since hubby built a 6 ft. high fence.

I'm finding all kinds of plants around my backyard now that they have a chance.

I don't want to get rid of these in the pictures if it something special, I hope and pray it is!!

Thanks for your time!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tilapia with Tarragon Butter Sauce

Heat oil in large skillet on medium high heat
Place Tilapia fillets on paper towels to drain off excess moisture

Season both sides of fillets with Cajun seasoning, Salt & Pepper.

Lightly flour both sides of all the fillets

Carefully place in heated oil.  Cook 3 minutes on each side, just until they are golden brown

Place cooked fillets on serving platter, set aside.

Turn heat down to low.  Add lemon juice, wine.  Simmer down to at least 1 tbsp. is left in the pan.  Add the fresh Tarragon and butter.  Whisk to mix well.

Pour immediately over fillets

Serve immediately with your favorite sides

This is by far, hands down, the most delicious Tilapia dish I have ever tasted.  Hubby brought his ketchup to the table thinking he was going to need it with the fish but once he took a bite of it, ketchup took a hike!  I can't say enough how delicious this Tilapia was and it's the first time I've cooked with fresh Tarragon.  From now on, this will be the way we'll eat it.

I read an article online today that Tarragon is the most underused herb but not in southern France where it's used almost everyday.  I have my own potted plant this year and I couldn't wait to use it, I'm a fan now!

It was a BEEEAUTIFUL day today, started off with clouds and rain then it turned sunny and dry - the best of both worlds.  I'm savoring every moment!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Strawberry Birthday Delight

Cake recipe thanks to the Pioneer Woman

    2 sticks Butter
    4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa Powder
    1 cup Boiling Water
    2 cups Flour
    2 cups Sugar
    ¼ teaspoons Salt
    ½ cups Buttermilk
    2 whole Eggs
    1 teaspoon Baking Soda
    1 teaspoon Vanilla
    1-½ cup Nutella
    2 pints Strawberries, Hulled And Sliced
    ¼ cups Sugar
    1 teaspoon Vanilla
    2 cups Heavy Cream
    ½ cups Powdered Sugar

 Preheat oven to 350F degrees.  Line two round cake pans with parchment paper.  Spray with PAM.

 In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, add the cocoa powder and mix well.  Pour in the water, combine and bring the mixture to a boil for about 20 seconds.  Remove from heat and set aside

In a medium bowl mix together the buttermilk, baking soda, eggs, vanilla.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt

Stir in the chocolate mixture, stirring gently

Now pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir in gently until completely combined

Next, pour cake batter in to prepared pans and bake in oven for 17-20 minutes, until the middle doesn't jiggle.

When done, cool by removing from the pan.  Turn bottom side up and carefully remove parchment paper.

While the cakes are cooling, now it's time to hull, rinse and slice the strawberries

Gently stir in the sugar and vanilla.  Set aside for at least 15 minutes.  Drain off excess juice (I saved it for the special drink I was making - see below this recipe)

In a large mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar in high speed until it's thick and fluffy

Spread about half of the Nutella on the flat side of a cake

On top of the Nutella, spread half of the whipping cream

Stand back and admire.  Try not to feel like you're having a Close Encounters moment, this. is. not. Devils Tower!

Add half the strawberries on top of the whipped cream.  I could really stop here and consider it done BUT since I have more ingredients, might as well finish it off

Take the second piece of cake, bottom side up and carefully place it on top of the strawberries pressing down gently.  Repeat rest of the layers

and there folks, is the delicious masterpiece

We added some birthday candles.  We surprised our daughter-in-law with a small family gathering with a birthday cake.  She loves strawberries and what a great reason to make this lovely recipe

and here's the birthday girl blowing out the candles

we then topped it off with this delicious
Strawberry Rosemary Gingerale drink thanks to the blog, "A Less Processed Life"
Strawberries can be so good in a variety of ways.  What is your favorite?

We had been secretly planning to do something for my daughter-in-law who's birthday is coming up soon.  As soon as the Pioneer Woman posted this on Facebook I immediately knew I was going to make this for her my DIL's surprise birthday party.  This will from now on be my basic go to chocolate cake.  Not only is it from scratch but it's so moist and deliciously chocolatey good.  Best homemade, from scratch cake I've made ever!

We had a great time with the grandkids and family this weekend, savoring every moment!

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