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HERBS ON ICE

Not long ago I did the Basil Ice Cubes Basil Ice Cubes and I wanted to show you more!!
These are even less work if you can believe it and had the same reward, fresh herbs in winter. Ok not totally fresh but you get the idea.

WHAT YOU NEED:
Fresh herbs of any kind
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Ice Cube Trays
Plastic Wrap

WHAT YOU DO:
~Pack herbs into the ice cube trays
~Fill each section with olive oil
~Use a chop stick or knife and gently press down all around the cube to make sure all the air is out and the herbs are covered.
~Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the herbs and oil, this keeps air out
~Wrap the trays really well with more plastic wrap and place in freezer for 12 hours.
~To remove slide a sharp knife along the sides and it will pop up and you can put in labeled Ziplocks for quick access.

These come in really handy and take no time at all to do. Hope you enjoy!
T

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Happy Anniversary to the Father of my DOGS!

Cooper in his Birthday suit

haha I gave him fangs

9 Years ago today, I got married to the coolest guy I had ever met and I still can not believe it really happened. I never thought we would “settle down” and start a “family”.  But I was wrong and I have been wrong abut a few things. We have a huge family now, 8!! our first Anniversary was when we got Cooper and it all went “up” hill from there. We fell in love with dogs, Chihuahua’s to be exact.
Now 9 years later we have 7 more adorable creatures added to the pack, a home that is pretty awesome and a great life with plenty of fun, craziness and drama. (who doesn’t have drama?) Herb has become part dog I think and he is the one who says we should rescue more….NO MORE!! I have put my foot down on this one…..no more, 8 Is Enough (hahaha)
We have had ups and downs and goods and bads but we have always had each other.

We’ve had to say goodbye to people we love but learned it is NOW that is important and it is really nice to have a shoulder to cry on.
It has been quite a year! Thanks Herb I LOVE YOU

We have more adventures planned and I have a lot more to cook, so see you soon!

Airplane ride to see our house from the air! what an awesome sunday afternoon surprise!

Hawaii

herb & I on our way to a wedding 

Fireworks from the deck 2012

Drinks at our wedding spot with Poco

Surf Fest at Doris

Grilled Peaches and Figs with Balsamic and Blue Part 2

Arugula Salad with Grilled Peaches & Mission Figs

If something works, I run with it, obviously……I love sweet and savory together and this is exactly that. Yesterday’s was a little sweeter because of the honey and today’s dressing makes it a little more savory. I love Arugula because it has that “peppery” bite to it and it compliments the sweet peaches so perfectly, add the char from the grill pan, the rich pungent taste of the blue cheese and the Tart dressing, you have an amazing complex flavor explosion

WHAT YOU NEED:
This is per person again:
1 half of a peach
2 Cups baby Arugula
4 mission figs (Dried) fresh is totally useable too
1 ounce good quality Blue Cheese
2 tablespoons Balsamic Dressing (MUST ME HOMEMADE)
Pinch of salt

WHAT YOU DO:
~Pre heat your grill pan to Med/High do not put anything in it ie, oil or butter
~Slice the peach into 1/4 in thick wedges and brush them lightly with olive oil.
~Slice the figs in half and lightly brush them with the oil as well
~Place the slices of peach on the pan and leave them, do not move them around you want the grill marks to be perfect. Each side will take about 3 minutes
~Carefully flip the peaches with tongs and a spatula and let them grill on the other side
~Warm the figs in a pan as well on med/high. This time I used a regular pan but it is up to you.
~Place the Arugula on a bowl and carefully build your salad, be specific how you place things so it looks pretty.
~I put in the figs & Blue cheese first then placed the peach slices all facing one direction. Then I went back and pulled some of the arugula up and figs and topped with more of the crumbled Blue.
~Lightly drizzle with the Balsamic Dressing, garnish with chives and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Store bought dressing really doesn’t cut it in any recipe in my opinion and it is so easy to whip up and have on hand so give it a try.
Triple Threat Vinaigrette is a blog I did a while ago with a few dressings if you need some help 🙂
ENJOY -T

The Grill Is Gone, The Grill is Gone Away……..

But the THRILL is still here thanks to the Grill Pan!

The grill had seen its last Ribeye, although that may not be entirely true. I saw it go by in the back of someone’s truck yesterday when I was out running errands…. Apparently it was poached from the street where it was waiting for the garbage guys. Hopefully it has a little life left in it after all.
Grilled Peaches & Figs with Balsamic & Blue cheese Part 1
This is such a sophisticated dessert but totally easy and delicious.
Because it was so awesome I decided to keep on the Sweet & Savory path and make another grilled peach dish for tomorrow,  I will post that one next.
WHAT YOU NEED:
This is per person:
1/2 of a ripe peach (the more ripe the more juicy so you can do it anyway you like, mine was just ripe and still firm)
4 Mission Figs dried (what I have) or fresh
1 heaping Tablespoon crumbled Blue Cheese
1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
pinch of sea salt
1 Teaspoon olive oil

WHAT YOU DO:
~Preheat your grill pan (feel free to use a real grill) on med/high heat.
~Slice the peaches in half and remove the pit.
~Slice the figs in half as well.
~Lightly brush the cut side of the peaches and figs with olive oil, just slightly you don’t want to add flavor or to make the pan smoke like crazy.
~Place peach oiled side down in the hot grill pan.
~While they are grilling add the figs placing them in the pan cut side down too. They just need to be warmed.
~It takes about 3 minutes to get the grill marks on the peaches, you can tell by looking at the edges, they will start to show a little bit of the brown right at the raised part of the pan.
~try not to move them at all because it will mess up the grill marks and that is what you are looking for.
~Once they are done carefully remove them with tongs and a spatula. Be careful lifting, you don’t want to leave the grill marks behind (they can stick so that is why you brush them with the oil first)
~Remove the figs and set aside
~Place the peach half grill marks up on a plate and place the figs in a purposeful pile so you can see their grill marks too. (I tried putting them all around the plate and it didn’t look right because they are dark)
~Crumble the tablespoon of Blue Cheese onto the peach and in the small space from the pit. Don’t over load it.Cover with a piece of foil for a couple minutes to start to melt the blue cheese (optional)
~Drizzle a tablespoon of honey over the cheese and a little on the figs and serve the Balsamic Vinegar on the side with a tiny spoon, this is for a few reasons….1-people can control the amount they put on,  2-Balsamic is brown and unless reduced and thick it doesn’t look pretty for presentation,  3- it looks nice with the little  tiny bowl and spoon,  4-it makes the Eater part of the experience 🙂
~Lastly garnish with some mint and sprinkle with a very light pinch of sea salt to really enhance the flavors!
ENJOY – T

Polenta Pyramid

Ok, not exactly but it rhymed and I like to make it sound as fun as it is to make and eat~

This is actually inspired by another blog I saw but I was so far into the blog world I can not remember where I saw it to give credit for the inspiration. I think she was a writer and was on a blog I follow’s blog. So to You out there who posted a version of this….Thank you for the inspiration and hope I did it justice.

WHAT YOU NEED:
1 package of polenta in a tube from the refrigerated section in the grocery store.
2 fresh mozzarella balls
1 jar Rao’s Marinara (You know who I feel about this sauce, there is nothing like it and other then homemade it is the best thing ever made in the entire world)
Parmesan cheese for topping maybe 1/4 cup
Fresh herbs for garnish (Basil chives, parsley)
1 tablespoon butter
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

WHAT YU DO:
Cut the polenta into 12 rounds a little over 1/4 inch. (1/2 inch is too think and 1/4 it too think in my opinion)- you need 2 per pyramid
Cut the fresh mozzarella into 12 rounds the same thickness.
In a sauté pan heat heat the butter and 2 tbls oil to medium high heat.
Brown the polenta on each side. Do not move them around because they will break apart.
Once they are browned set on paper towels to remove any excess oil.
Pour about a 1/4 cup of the sauce in a baking dish, just enough to cover the bottom.
Place 6 of the polenta rounds on the sauce and then place a slice of the mozzarella on the polenta and then follow with one more polenta and one more mozzarella. You should have 2 pieces of polenta and 2 pieces of mozzarella with the mozzarella on the top.
Spoon a 1/4 cup sauce over each one.
Sprinkle with a little parmesan (see photo)
Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes until piping hot.
To serve, use a spatula without holes in it and carefully remove one pyramid trying not to let it topple over.
Place on plate and garnish with a sprig of basil and sprinkle all over with chopped chives and parsley.
Enjoy -T

Panini Perfection!

So, several blogs ago I posted  Oven Roasted Tomatoes and because my garden has given me pretty much all my tomatoes at once I roasted a bunch more.  I was starving for something really good for lunch and remembered I got a “Griddler” for Christmas a few years ado and it’s kind of tucked in the back of the cabinet with the plates so I don’t see it and forget its there. It is a Panini Press made by Cuisinart and it works really well.

When we first got it we had Panini everything for weeks!  Anyway like I said…. I was starving for something good, like a sandwich and I thought….”Ooh those tomatoes I just roasted would be good, and I have that nice bread & oh yea! and the goat cheese I made the guy go find for me at the market (there was none out!? What?)…PANINI!! I’M MAKING A PANINI!!!”  I am home yelling this to the dogs by the way & they jump and run with me for a second and think someone is here because I jump up and they go racing out the door barking and then I’m like “NO GUY’S IT WAS JUST ME EXCITED ABOUT MY SANDWICH!” but they don’t hear me cuz they are barking and racing down the steps into the yard so I keep yelling “NO IT’S JUST ME!! IT’ WAS MEEEEEEE!! MY SANDWICH!!!” and because I’m yelling they keep barking and then I’m like, “you guys are so stupid, it was me and my sandwich” and then I realize I am the stupid one and the neighbors must think I ‘m crazy because I’m yelling “I WAS JUST EXCITED ABOUT MY SANDWICH” and the dogs have no idea what I’m saying. I should video tape our house and watch it….I bet there is some funny stuff coming out of here.

WHAT YOU NEED:
Nice sandwich bread like a Ciabatta, something that will hold up well to cooking and won’t get soggy.
1/4 Cup oven roasted tomatoes (approx, these ended up small and you just want a layer of them not too think)
2 ounces goat cheese (herbed or plain)
1 Cup Arugula (baby or regular)
olive oil & herbs for top (I made an olive oil bread dipping mixture and used that)
salt & pepper

WHAT YOU DO:
Super easy, just build your sandwich the way you like it.
I did goat cheese on both sides.
Layer of roasted tomatoes.
Heaping pile of Arugula (it presses down so load it up!)
Brush the top of the bread with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt & herbs.
Put in the Panini Grill and press.
If you don’t have a press you can put it in a pan and place something heavy on top of it like another pan with a weight on it and flip it after a few minutes. With the press it cooks from both sides so you don’t have to flip.
Throw a little something on the side…I have a green bean salad with fresh beans from the garden 🙂

Enjoy -T

Mango Tango

Or Mango Sherbet, whatever….

I had 2 mangos sitting on the window sill & couldn’t deiced what to do, Then Herb said he was going to get ice cream & that’s when the light bulb went off “bing”
This is so simple to do and really tastes great. Similar to the
Papaya Ice Cream blog but different fruit, go crazy make it with whatever you have or throw in some strawberries or raspberries with the mangos, get creative!!

WHAT YOU NEED:
2 ripe mangos
2 Cups light cream or half & half (extra if needed possibly 1/2 c)
2/3 cup powdered sugar
A blender
A baking dish

WHAT YOU DO:
Peel the Mangos using a good vegetable peeler.
Cut the fruit off the pit using care, they are slippery once you have peeled them.
(The pit is flat and oblong shaped so cut a piece off so it will sit flat and you can cut around it)
Put the mango pieces & Powdered Sugar in a blender and add the cream.
Turn the blender on high and blend until super smooth
If you notice it is thick and the top does not blend, add a little more cream a few table spoons at a time until it becomes the consistency of a shake or smoothie.
Pour into a baking dish and cover with plastic wrap, ensuring the plastic it touching the mixture.(keeps it from getting ice crystals on the top)
Freeze for 6 hours or until solid.
To serve take it out of the freezer and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Scrape it with a spoon and then scoop.
Top with some mint and a little sprinkling of a special sugar, I have a bunch of different ones and I used Key Lime for a little extra touch.
Because there are no additives it melts quickly so be sure to serve right away or put the bowls in the freezer if you need time.
ENJOY -T

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