Friday, February 25, 2011

Tartan Day



There is an annual
Scottish Festival
held at the
Queen Mary,
a historic landmark in Long Beach, California.

I am half Scottish,
and though truthfully I know very little of my
ancestors that come from Scotland,
I thought it was high time I spent
a day with "my clan".


I was excited...
the day was crisp and cool,
the sun warm on my face.

I was most excited about the food...
well actually one food in particular.
A food that may not have the best reputation by name,
at least not for Americans.
I'll be the first to agree that when you read the
description of it, it may not be the most
 appealing sounding thing on the planet.
Have you guessed what it is?


That's right, Haggis!
I have never tried it, but always wanted to.
If you're not sure what it is you
can read all about it here.


Maybe visually it's not the most appealing thing to look at either,
but taste...

Delicious!

It's meaty and rich, with a certain
mineral and earthy quality to it.
It has great texture with the oats,
spices are mild, but present in an understated sort of way.
It may not be for everyone,
but Chad & I both loved it and
would eat it again in a heartbeat!



We also got to try a Scottish meat pie...


It was very good,
a delicate and flaky pastry shell,
 enveloping the meaty goodness inside.
Beefy gravy, rich in flavor...
mashed potatoes and peas.
What a lunch!!



There were kilts everywhere!
Bagpipes, bands and parades...



It was a feast for all the senses.

After we exhausted the outdoor festivities it was time to board
the ship and start exploring.



The Queen Mary is a fantastic ship.
You truly feel as if you've stepped back in time
 when you step on board.
The smell of the wood, the architectural style
feels glamorous and important.

We had the opportunity to join a 
Scottish whisky tasting in the boiler room
of the ship.
It was was the perfect setting.
Cool and damp, low light...
very cozy.


We received a history lesson on whisky,
proper drinking etiquette and then
we got to sample.



They smell wonderful!
I got hints of butterscotch, toffee,
honey and peat moss.
However when I taste them, I feel like I get
punched in the face with alcohol.
Maybe it's an acquired taste,
but for now, 
I think I'll just stick with smelling them!


It was a day of history and culture,
great food and strong drink!
I enjoyed the time we spent,
and it makes me want to know more about my heritage.

I hope one day I can write another post about
 Scottish food and drink...
All whilst sitting in a pub in Scotland,
eating haggis and drinking whisky.

Well maybe not the whisky part...
but the Scotland part...
Yes Please!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Sewing Machine, Penny & Poppy


I'm back with another edition
of


New to my blog
or
Tickle Me Tuesdays
You can find out what it's all about here

Since I love to sew,
 I'm always on the lookout for
cool sewing related items.
It might be something neat to put in my sewing room,
a gadget that I just can't live without or
in this case,
 Look what I found...

A vintage sewing machine shirt from
Caustic Threads
on etsy
and it's orange...
my favorite color...gotta have it!!



Sewing not your thing...
her shop is filled to the brim with the neatest shirts;
Stop by and take a peek at her fun little shop,
you're bound to find something you love!


Sewing machine,
meet
Penny...

During my cruise on etsy
I came across
a fun little jewelry shop.

Check out this dress form necklace,
made on a penny!



There is a wonderful assortment of
penny necklaces in her shop
as well as necklaces made on
Scrabble Tiles
like this orange Poppy beauty!
It has my name all over it!!



So on my recent stroll around etsy
that's what
tickled my fancy!

Fun Spring finds
that I have a feeling may be finding
 their way into my wardrobe!


Want to see more...
Head over to my friend Sarah's blog
Yes Teacher
and check out some other great
Tuesday finds!


Happy Tuesday!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Noisy Valentine


Whirrrrrrr........
The blender was running,
whipping up a delicious marinade for dinner.
I guess so much for listening to the old
records I had put on.

Then...
Spluuuunk......
That's the sound of a 5 pound bag of jasmine rice
hitting the wood floor...
followed by the sound of tiny, tiny,
rice rain drops,
scattering wildly all over the pantry and the floor.
Hmmmm....
apparently the bag wasn't as closed as we thought.

Now add to this orchestra of sounds,
the coughing vacuum cleaner
trying to swallow large quantities of rice rain.
It seems the vacuum cleaner had a rather full tummy
and wasn't overly hungry.

Are you feeling the romantic Valentines Day vibe yet?


In all honesty by this point it was all rather funny,
we had a good laugh and then got on with the business
of cooking dinner!

On the menu


The marinade was for the asparagus and to drizzle over the fish.
Delicious and simple!
The soy and lemon juice played so nicely together,
with a little heat from the ginger.
It was very fresh tasting.


Fresh orange zest for the rice...
a nice bright contrast to the rich creamy texture 
of the Coconut Pilaf.


The halibut and the asparagus were both grilled,
which added just a hint of smokiness to the taste.
The flavors were all well balanced and 
played off of each other really well.
A little sweet, a hint of heat and some smokiness.
I was very pleased with the results.


Then onto dessert!


This recipe comes courtesy of 
We belong to their spice of the month club
and I knew when I saw
"Hawaiian Sea Salt Chocolate Molten Cakes"
I was making them for Valentines Day!

These are seriously chocolatey...
I'm talking rich gooey brownie flavor on steroids!!
They are not too sweet,
they have a luscious chocolate flavor,
a hint of sea salt, and then the outsides
are dusted with sugar.
So each bite is a wonderful combination
of flavors to savor.
I think I'm in love!


Well, I thought I was in love until it was paired
with the Mango Coulis...
Oh my goodness!
Sweet, citrusy, spicy...


Pair that with the chocolatey goodness of the Molten Cakes,
A match made in heaven!!
Marry me?

So while it might not have been the quietest evening
we've ever had...
it was one of the more delectable ones!


Recipes for Molten Cakes and Mango Coulis follow:

Ingredients

9 oz semi-sweet chocolate
12 Tbsp softened butter - half for greasing muffin tins
1 C sugar - half for dusting muffin tins
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp Kahlua
1/8 tsp Two Snooty Chefs Alea Hawaiian Sea Salt
(plus additional for dusting tops of cakes)
3 large eggs
1/2 C flour

Directions

Preheat over 400 degrees
Butter a 12 count muffin tin (6 if using a jumbo muffin pan)
Dust the individual tins with half the sugar
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler till smooth - set aside
In a separate bowl cream together 6 Tbsp butter,
1/2 C sugar, vanilla, Kahlua & sea salt
Add eggs one at a time until well blended
Beat in melted chocolate and add flour
Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full
Lightly sprinkle more sea salt over the batter in the tins
Bake 9-10 mins - let cool
Turn out onto a plate and serve with mango coulis

Mango Coulis

2 ripe mangos
1/2 C fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp honey
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

Directions

Remove all flesh of mango from skin and the pit and place in blender
Add remaining ingredients and blend well 
Serve with Chocolate Molten Cakes

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Snooty Tuesday


I know it's actually
Tickle Me Tuesday,
but this week it's 
Snooty Tuesday!


Not sure what it's all about,
check it out here.

There are "club-of-the-months" for just 
about everything these days.
Coffee, wine, pajamas...
Yes...pajamas.
I haven't quite figured out why one would need
12 pairs of pajamas...but apparently some people do.

More up my alley...
Spice Of The Month!
And really, really good ones,
brought to you by


This was actually a Christmas gift for Chad,
but we are both loving it.
We are on our 3rd month so far and they are all fantastic.
The newest for February...

Hawaiian Sea Salt

Each month comes with a suggested recipe,
and this months was the star dessert in last night's 
Valentine's dinner.
Hawaiian Sea Salt Chocolate Molten Cakes.
More to come on those in another post!

Another favorite...



This is becoming a fast favorite in our house,
 to season just about everything!

So that's what has been tickling my fancy this week...
Want to see more,
then hop on over to
my friend Sarah's blog
and see some more great 
Tickle Me Tuesday finds.

Happy "Snooty" Tuesday!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Day


When we asked the preschoolers in our class what
Valentines Day was,
we got the cutest answers.
My favorite...
it's 
Love Day!

And indeed it is...


So whatever plans you have for today,
I hope you get to spend it with the ones you love,
doing something you enjoy.

Me...
I'll be in the kitchen cooking tonight.
So what's on the menu?
Well, now that's for another blog post.

Wishing you a very happy
Love Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Figgy Piggy


I have to admit,
I chose this recipe based on the name.
Figgy Piggy
It sounded fun!
I knew I had to make it.

I know that's not a very scientific method of choosing a recipe,
but luckily for me,
it turned out to be a very yummy choice!

The recipe was only for the game hens,
but I decided to make brussels sprouts
with bacon and cranberries...



And mashed potatoes with smoked gouda,
to go along with it...


A nice bottle of wine...


And the end result
Ta Da...


Delicious!


The sweetness of the figs, played so nicely against
the saltiness of the bacon.
And the lemon, thyme and garlic made a lovely
"au jus" type sauce to spoon over top.

Make again?
A definite yes!

You can check out the recipe here.

Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Spring is in the Air



It's that time of the week again...
Tickle Me Tuesdays
If you're new to what it's all about
you can check it out here.

Spring is in the air!
Well at least here on the West Coast it is.
We've had some beautiful temperatures the last few days
and that always makes me think of 
outdoor dining and luncheons.

I was flipping through some catalogs the other day
and came across these...
Aren't they just the perfect little dipping sauce bowls.
Love them!


Things That Fly Dipping Bowls
from

Or how about this 
Bird Bath Serving Bowl...


It's so pretty and so very Spring like...
Check it out here.

So now that I'm planning my lovely spring luncheon,
I need to have my recipes organized & stored in a beautiful box...
Check out this beauty from the colorful etsy shop



They even have the matching recipe cards...

Could they be cuter?

Hmmmm....now to figure out just what to serve.
Oh, and figure out my guest list...
Do you want to come?

I hope you will!


If you want to see more 
Tickle Me Tuesday
finds then fly on over
 to my friend Sarah's blog
and feast your eyes on some more goodies!

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Flying and Crawling Pizza

As I sit here writing this,
I'm thinking, gosh it really doesn't seem like that long ago
that I was a high school freshman myself...
Well ok,
maybe that's a wee bit of a stretch,
but you know what I mean.

Time is a funny commodity.
It has a way of sneaking up on you.
At times it seems to fly.
Yet, others it crawls.

I guess in some ways this post is about both those things;
flying and crawling.

Time in general has flown since I was a freshman in high school,
though there have been stages during that period,
 that have crawled.

Moments it seems like he is still a little boy,
then others almost a man.

In actuality...
he is a teenager.
One who plays guitar,
listens to music,
loves soccer,
 texts at the speed of light....
Oh yeah, and can make a mean pizza!


One who measures carefully...


Stirs with care...



Stretches and presses the elastic dough with nimble fingers...


And bakes with precision...
a very yummy
BBQ chicken pizza,
all by himself!


And the best part...
he even does dishes!


It truly seems like yesterday that he wasn't able to walk or talk,
let alone read a recipe or cook me a meal.
Yet, somehow that day arrived.
The flying, crawling pizza was here,
and now it's flown by...
It was delicious!

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