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Watermelon Feta And Mint Salad!

IMG_0412OK I actually thought…..Uh Weird! cheese and watermelon but when you think of Apples and cheese or pears and cheese you’re like “move aside I need that cheesy fruit combo”, am I Right??
Well this is the now “go to bring along to anything dish ” for me, My husband is kind of over it. It couldn’t be easier to make and I’ll prove it!

WHAT YOU NEED :
1 small Watermelon, of course…. (try to make sure it is not over ripe, if it is really soft and really dark pink it may be a little on the old side so stick to bright pink and firm. If you buy it cut in half  you can see it.
8 Oz’s Feta Cheese – go crazy, buy a good one. A Greek one in water would be nice- just make sure to drain and rinse in gently.
1 fresh lime – not the ones with brown spots on them, bright green with a fresh bright scent, I actually like extra lime so you can add another if you want.
2 Tablespoons Fresh Mint chopped – sweet mint is the best there is a difference with spearmint, peppermint etc. You can tear a few extra for garnish too.
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WHAT YOU DO:
Cut the watermelon into 1 inch cubes -approximately or bite size – no need for a ruler.
Place it gently in a larg serving bowl – you know me, I like white.
Squeeze Lime over the watermelon and very gently fold them
Sprinkle over mint and crumble feta cheese but do not toss until you are serving on the plate.

This a light refreshing salad with a bite of salt and hint of mint, Your guests will love it and your husband will get sick of it!
Enjoy -T

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Party Pleasing

A friend of ours graduated from College and to help out I offered to put out food & do a little sprucing so when they all came back from a long afternoon of handing out Degrees they would have something to eat. The famous Cheese Ball that has made an appearance at many parties was front and center.
The recipe was adapted from a Martha Stewart Holiday recipe that really has no better name. Cheese Ball…..the recipe she had made a mountain of cheese and you split it into 3 different recipes. I just wanted to do the one.
WHAT YOU NEED:
1 1/2 Pkgs Cream Cheese about 12 ozs
1/4 stick of butter
5 dashes hot sauce (like Franks Red Hot)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
8 oz sharp cheddar finely shredded
2 Tablespoons store bought chutney
3/4 Cup dried cranberries chopped very finely
water crackers and cucumbers sliced for serving

WHAT YOU DO:
In a Kitchen Aid or blender with paddle attachment cream everything but the cheddar and the cranberries and of course the crackers and cukes for serving. Once and a while stop and scrape down the clumped up parts on the paddle.
once it is smooth and trust me if you do not use the Kitchen Aid for this your arm will be sore of a week and you’ll get a weird clump when you least expect it.
Fold in cheddar until well incorporated and then chill for an hour.

Once it is a little hard you can form into a ball. The heat of your hands will start melting it so once you have made it nice and smooth gently put it down and wash your hands so you don’t get the cheese all over the dark cranberries. Gently lift and place into a bowl of the cranberries rolling and pressing until totally covered. I even went back to make sure I filled it all in and it was perfect.
Enjoy -T

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20130620-185212.jpgCheck out this great grab and go: slice of baguette, piece of spinach or arugula, slice of cheese, carefully place lunch meat, top with an olive and hold together with a toothpick!! These were a HUGE hit.

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So Here We Sit, My little Lemon Tree & Me

So we were out shopping and that is the first problem  with my husband… My husband and I saw a little Meyer Lemon tree and I told my husband I had to have it!…. He of course told me I don’t need one and it is not on the list. SO I spent the remainder of the trip around the garden center complaining that “they never have these, they are rare, I looked them up last summer and I was going to order one on line but I just didn’t”…. “look that lady already is getting one of them and there are only 6 there!!!!” He said “they will have them when we come back next time”. I quickly followed with “but they won’t, they didn’t last year and I really want to get one!, I will go ask” so I ran over to the sales person, “uh excuse me….there are a few Meyer Lemon Trees over there and there are only 6…well now only 5, Are you going to get more of them” and they said “No we don’t ever have those, I think it is a 1 time thing”. Ah ha! “See! They will never have them again, ever!! I will never get the lemon tree I have always wanted, I read about how to bring them in for the winter too”
Herb….”FINE, (sowered face and stern no longer happy voice) put it in the cart- then that is it, no vegetables or anything else you wanted” -Me… “Ok all I want is a lemon tree and I want to write a blog about it”

So here we sit my little Meyer Lemon Tree and me. It is late afternoon and the sun is going down over the willow but not below the hedges. The sun is finally warm……

It was an awful winter. I really cannot remember why I stay here in the cold until the Spring pops up and days like this make me feel like Ahhh the is what Newport is. The smell of the salt in the air from the Ocean breeze, the birds chirping the water fall in the koi pond splashing into the bottom, Ive got the Bridge to the left of me and the lemon tree to the right, Here I am stuck in the middle.

The flowers are now starting to bloom and I am so excited, they are pink when they are buds and then yellow when they open.

3 week old and here is what we have: I will make recipes with my Myer Lemons so do not worry I have not branched out in to just writing!

T

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Deconstructed Apple Pie…

Well, as you know from the previous blog we went a little apple crazy and I had to use up those beautiful fresh picked gems!!
I did the Candy Apples and we ate those until we were sick and then I made these, A warm baked Apple Crumb dessert with Homemade Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream! I can actually hear myself gaining weight! But seriously when you eat these you will not care 🙂 Its like an apple pie ,just lazy with out the pretty crust, instead you put on a crumb topping and it is delicious!
The Weck Jars are my favorite things right now and they have made my desserts look exactly as I imagined them. (Its weird I am really not a dessert person and this blog has really brought out my SWEET side) I think desserts must look prettier then regular meals because there are so many on my Blog?! The Weck Jars are available on the Weck website and are much less then ordering them on other sites so if you are getting them go right to the source. I think it’s around $12 to $15 for 6 of them, maybe less…
This is another easy one so get your peeler and your pen, you will really be a Kitchen Queen when you serve this one. Anything served a little different really makes people impressed.

WHAT YOU NEED:
4 Cups chopped peeled apples, I use a variety so there is great flavor and textures
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/2 Cups flour (any type will work)
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar (this is a must for the flavor regular sugar won’t have the richness)
1/2 stick butter melted (go get the good butter! Homemade from Vermont)

WHAT YOU DO:
PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 350 DEGREES
~Peel the apples and cut them into bite sized pieces and slices (They will cook down a little)
~Set them aside and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of lemon juice to keep them from turing brown
~In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients except the apples.
~Mix it well until it becomes a gravel type consistency, you want it to stick together if you squeeze it in your hand.
(If you do not have the Weck jars you can use any type of baking dish just follow the same steps)
~Spoon in a few Tablespoons of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the Jar and press it down to create a “crust” it should be about an inch thick.
~Scoop in 1 cup of chopped apples (more or less as need to get to about 3/4 of an inch from the top
~Top with 2 or 3 more Tablespoons of the crumb mixture this time just spoon it on and do not press it down.
~Place the jars in a baking dish and place in the oven for 45 minutes until baked crumbly and brown.

Whip up some fresh whipped cream with fresh vanilla bean and serve a dollop on top!
ENJOY -T


An Apple a Day……

Keeps the Doctor away but 4 or 5 candy apples in one night may actually keep the Doctor in business!!

If you here at our house, gorging yourself on delicious creations is pretty much ” business as usual” and these gooey, delicious, sugar drenched apples were no exception.
We Went APPLE PICKING!! It was so much fun!  We drove out to a Apple Picking Farm in Little Compton, Not only did I pick more apples then I could actually carry,  we ate them….A Lot of them. We ate them while we were picking them and ate them on the way home and then…..Dun, Dun, Dunnnnnn… Yep, we ate them covered in Ooey Gooey caramel and chocolate  🙂

Because I had huge baskets full of them when we got back I had to come up with what to make with them so first, CANDY APPLES. YAY!!  HALLOWEEN!! CANDY APPLES!! FUN!!
This is actually easier to do with chocolate then with caramel because the caramel oozes down the apples and turns to tar and sticks them to the plates, wax paper, & the Silpat… BUT the caramel were my favorite as far as taste goes. Herb on the other hand loved the chocolate and to prove it he ate 3 regular sized ones right off the bat, followed by the 3 mini “cake pop” style ones I did and continued to eat them for the next 3 days. He got sick hahaha but it didn’t stop him. On NO, he kept on eating them. I think he over eats and then builds up a tolerance and then can just do it all over again!!  This was so much fun, from the apple picking to creating them and eating them. I love my life!

This makes me laugh because this is right after I said “Make sure you don’t pick ones with holes or bad spots” He emptied most of his basket.

(Ok I’m not loving the fact that I have decided to get my Real Estate License and it has taken up all my cooking time and I have to study for 8 hours a day to get this stuff. Its like learning a new language and I have not studied in over 20 years so I am not good at it BUT….I have a good teacher and I get to learn at my own pace so I can get a full understanding and it really is going to be a great career Plus!….I was already offered a place at at a very beautiful, upscale Broker’s office upon completion so I had better study!!- Now that you know why I have not been blogging, let me get back to it)

WHAT YOU NEED:
CARAMEL APPLES
I did them 2 different ways I did these so I will separate it so you can see how to do both the caramel & Chocolate.
10 Apples any type just be sure they are firm and pristine (easy, just don’t pick ones that have dents, holes or fruit flies make sure they look pretty)
10 Wooden Dowels (Michael’s Craft Store)
1 cup Chopped Cashews
1 Cup Chopped Macadamia Nuts
1 Cup shredded Coconut
1 Cup White Chocolate
Flaked salt of some kind, I had Hibiscus salt
(The toppings are totally optional and you can use what ever you like. My Favorite was the Caramel with a little Hibiscus Salt. But have fun use what you’ve got,,,,,,Crushed up Oreo’s would work and candy cereals & M 7M’s !!)
For the actual caramel: Its super easy
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup
1/2 cup Heavy Cream at room temperature
WHAT YOU DO:
Set up a dipping station with your selected goodies in bowls,
Put your apple sticks into your apples and have them ready for dipping.
On Medium High heat add the sugar and the light corn syrup and mix in a heavy sauce pot and cover (Although this is fun and easy this gets crazy hot and the sugar can burn so have your oven mitts handy and be sure your pot handle is turned inward, use your brain this can be really dangerous to pets and children) 🙂
Once the sugar has melted, remove the lid and let it continue to cook until it starts to turn a golden color. Carefully stir with a wooden spoon to ensure it doesn’t stick (This took about 15 minutes)
Once it is golden in color remove from the heat and drizzle in the cream while stirring. Do not pour it all in at once it will bubble up and over flow.
Mix with a whisk until smooth, transfer to a large bowl and let it sit to cool for a few before dipping about 5 minutes
Test the consistency by dipping an apple, it the caramel runs right off then let the caramel sit a few more minutes to cool. You want it to be thick enough to hold on to the apple but also able to hold the toppings.
(If it gets too thick just reheat it over pot of simmering water)
Once you have the right temp, simply dip in your apple, gently scrape the heavy dripping caramel from the bottom with a spoon or drag it on the edge of the caramel bowl and then dip into your favorite toppings!!
If you look closely at the apple photos you will see I did several different styles:
-I held the toppings in one hand and angled the apply upside down and pressed nuts into the top and then changed the nuts for the bottom.
-I did 1/2 and 1/2
-The Slated Caramel (MY FAVORITE) were easy just pinch some good quality salt (I did Hibiscus salt) and sprinkle onto top rim of caramel. Salt is to enhance the flavor so go easy with it.
Michael’s craft store had the eyeball ribbon, the dowels and the bags to put them in. The Caramel ones do not slide into the bag, you have to wrap them with cellophane, the bags won’t work…trust me!
WHAT YOU NEED FOR CHOCOLATE APPLES:

2 Cups Good Quality Chocolate (I used Ghirardelli chips milk chocolate and Semi-sweet mixed)
Using a “make shift” double boiler, melt the chips over indirect heat. (You can do it in the microwave also). Once they start melting turn the heat to very low and stir until smooth. There is no need to add anything to the chocolate and it will harden beautifully.
Once it is melted and smooth dip the apples in the same way you did for the caramel. Scrape off dripping chocolate and dip into your toppings.
Get creative! Do half nuts, half coconut and other fun combinations>
WHITE CHOCOLATE TIPS!!
White chocolate does not melt the same as regular chocolate and therefor does not work as well but, it does work you just have to add a couple teaspoons of cream as it is melting. it will not dry has hard so just be aware of that when you go to make them. I used the white as a glue for my coconut and covered the apple completely.
A good way to utilize white chocolate is to chop it up finely and use like you would the other toppings

ENJOY-T

What do you do with day old bread?

Croutons & Breadcrumbs, that’s what you do!! I actually forgot to photograph the breadcrumbs because I ended up hurrying to get everything done for dinner the other night. I had so many things going for the guys coming to eat after surfing. I always worry there won’t be enough and there is always plenty I get to over excited wanting everything to be perfect 🙂
 I had some really nice Ciabatta sandwich rolls that I totally forgot about because it was so humid and hot out I put them in the fridge.I could not let these go to waste. This works with all types of breads the only difference would be cooking times, some will cook faster. Ciabatta is a heavier bread then say a French Bread so it will cook a little longer. This is a must do if you have day old bread.
Check out the photos for so great ideas on how to use both!

WHAT YOU NEED:
Day old bread cut into cubes (not too big)
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon Celery Salt
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo Pepper (Optional)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
drizzle of olive oil (1 to 2 teaspoons
Adjust spices to the amount of bread you have, I had abut 4 or 5 cups
WHAT YOU DO:
Heat oven to 425 degrees
place cubed bread on baking sheet and bake dry until bread is toasted through about 12 to 15 minutes.
Let them cool and toss half of them in a bowl with all ingredients (save the other half, unseasoned for breadcrumbs)
Add just a little olive oil to make it stick as you are tossing it
Let them cool completely before storing
FOR BREAD CRUMBS:
Place the unseasoned cubes in a food processor and pulse until you get desired breadcrumb constancy
Place them both in large mason jars for great storage and to keep them from getting stale. Season them as you use them so you can make all different types!
ENJOY -T

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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