Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tea Time for One

Here in N FL we are experiencing some lovely weather with cooler temperatures and low humidity. I always have to take advantage of this kind of weather because next week the humidity will be back and temperatures will be rising. A wonderful time to be gardening but at Tea Time it is time to take a break and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.

A toile tablecloth to cover the table and my Fall pillows for comfort.

My tea staying warmed by my Janear glass teapot. It is a German made teapot.

My tea of choice is a Tarragon Tea. I grow the Mexican Tarragon in a pot on my patio. I would prefer growing French Tarragon but it is of similar taste and the French variety will not grow well in our heat and humidity. I love the licorice taste of Tarragon and I have been told it is a good tea for tummy issues.

I always use Demera Sugar in my tea with a splash of lemon and a slice of lemon as well.

A Bannana Nut Muffin pared well with my Tarragon Tea to hold me over until dinner time. I worked up an appetite while gardening.

Taking the time to savor the afternoon with Tea for One is a "Good Thing".

My Furry babies enjoyed the afternoon also. On the left is my Cavelier King Charles Spaniel, Miss Scarlet and on the right is my rescued Beagle, Huey.

I think Miss Scarlet wanted some of my Bananna Nut Muffin.

I am joining Susan today at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday and also Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. Please check out all the other participants on both of these beautiful blogs.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Chive Risotto Cakes

My favorite cookbook author and also my favorite food network chef is Ina Garten. Chive Risotto Cakes is a recipe from her latest cookbook Back to Basics. All of Ina Garten's books are fabulous and I have them all but this one speaks to a wide audience and one I most often recommend.

Chive Risotto Cakes

Serves 6

Kosher salt
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1-1/2 cups grated Italian Fontina cheese (5 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
Good olive oil

Bring a large (4-quart) pot of water to a boil, add 1/2 tablespoon salt and the Arborio rice. Cook, stirring, occasionally, for 20 minutes. The grains of rice will be quite soft. Drain the rice in a sieve and run under cold water until cool. Drain well.

Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, chives, Fontina, 1-1/4 teaspoons salt, and the pepper in a medium bowl. Add the cooled rice and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, until firm.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Spread the panko in a shallow dish. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Form balls of the rice mixture using a standard (2-1/4-inch) ice-cream scoop or a large spoon. Pat the balls into patties 3 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick. Place 4 to 6 patties in the panko, turning once to coat.

Place the patties in the hot oil and cook, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side until the risotto cakes are crisp and nicely browned. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Continue cooking in batches, adding oil as necessary, until all the cakes are fried.

Serve hot.

These looked wonderful and tasty in the book and when I watched her make these on her program. A light dinner pared with a good Mixed Green Salad and a good bottle of white wine. My wine of choice this evening will be a King Estate Pinot Gris and this will be the dinner I prepare this evening.

I put these together last night and it smells heavenly. The recipe suggests that after putting the ingredients together that they be refrigerated for a couple of hours or over night which is what I did.

I was able to find a good Italian Fontina cheese for this recipe and much to my surprise there is a dramatic taste difference from other Fontina cheeses that I have used. I also have chives growing in my garden so I had plenty for this recipe.

Today I am joining Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum. To see other outstanding recipes submitted by other participants click here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Fall Garden

It is time for Outdoor Wednesday and today I am sharing some photos of my garden. Here in N Fl we don't have a dramatic Fall but there are some things blooming in my garden that ONLY bloom in the Fall. Most of my annuals have been dug up and soon as the weather cools here I will again be able to plant pansies, snapdragons, foxglove and other cooler weather plants.

This iron arbor is off from my patio area where I almost daily have my morning coffee. I have the arbor planted with an old rose called New Dawn but after it's first flush of bloom in the Spring it doesn't put on to much more blooms so I have planted it with this beautiful vining plant called Coral Vine.

The bees and butterflies just love it and I thoroughly enjoy it myself.

Firebush is another plant that only blooms in the Fall.

It's foliage has a tinge of orange and the bloom is orange as well. This particular plant looks beautiful in Fall flower arrangements.

Mexican Sage is another beautiful bush that puts on a show for us this time of year.

With it's purplish spikey blooms, it too is lovely in Fall flower arrangements.

The plant with the red spikey bloom is native to this area and is called Cardinal Guard. This is probably one of my most favorite Fall bloomers because the hummingbirds just love this plant. They are fascinating to watch when they flock to this plant. Of course, there is a hummer feeder nearby but they prefer Cardinal Guard.

Cardinal Guard is also a bloom that I like to incorporate into Fall flower arrangements. If you click on this photo you can see that I have captured a hummer enjoying this plant.

Our temperatures may not get as chilly as some areas in this country but we do have a slight cooling trend here in N FL and it is evident in the blooms of my garden.

To enjoy other Outdoor Wednesday participants please click here. You can also enlarge any of my photos by clicking onto them. Thank you Susan for hosting Outdoor Wednesday.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I have enjoyed sharing with you my Fall Garden.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Beach Mosaic

My husband and I have returned from our trip to the beach. I stayed so busy that I didn't use my camera much. On Labor Day weekend the whole family was there to visit with us and we had a lovely afternoon picnic. I spent most of the day in the kitchen so I didn't even get photos of the grandchildren playing on the beach. I did get these photos of a beautiful sunset one evening while there.

I am joining Mary's Mosaic Monday today. To see other participants in Mosaic Monday click here.

You can click on to the mosaic to enlarge and we were staying on the Gulf of Mexico near Applachiacola, FL. The sandpipers are very hard to see since it was almost dark but they were a constant joy to watch as they scurried along the beach.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Going on Vacation

I am leaving today for a ten day vacation with my hubby at the beach along the Gulf coast. It is so beautiful down along the coast this time of year and the good news is that school here is back in so that means no kidlets running along the beach. Complete and total relaxation.

This was a picture that was take last year and we will be vacationing close to this location. The Gulf of Mexico.

Hopefully I will get lots of wonderful pictures while I am gone. We will have a beautiful moon this evening so an evening walk along the beach is planned.

I'll be back in ten days.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blackberry Cobbler

It is Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum. I am sharing with you my most favorite Fruit Cobbler and this time my Blackberry Cobbler. A simple dessert but can certainly be kicked up if you wish but definitely stands alone also. Please check out other participants of Foodie Friday by clicking here.

I have for many years toyed with several cobbler recipes but go back to the same one each time. It's simple, buttery tasting and you can use whatever fruit you have on hand whether it be blackberries, blueberries or peaches. They each are wonderful in this recipe.

I have come across several variations of this same recipe but over the years have tweaked it to become my own recipe.

My Favorite Cobbler

1/2 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1 cup milk
1 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups sliced peaches, blackberries, or blueberries

Preheat oven to 350*.

Melt butter in a 2-quart casserole dish as the oven is preheating. Mix together flour, 1 cup sugar, salt, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg. Mix thoroughly. Mix 1 cup milk and 1 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients and do not over mix.

In separate bowl place fruit and 1/2 cup of sugar.

Pour flour mixture over butter; do not stir. Place fruit on top of wet mixture, do not stir. Bake at 350* for about 45 minutes or until bubbly and desired browning. Serve warm with Ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.

I always prep each recipe.

With this particular cobbler I was using blackberries.

The amount of sugar added depends on how sweet the fruit is and ripeness.

Always place the butter in the casserole dish in the oven while pre-heating.

Pouring in the wet ingredients and then the fruit without mixing it is very important.

The result is a lovely but yet simple cobbler.

Try it, you will enjoy it and to make it even more enjoyable try adding a scoop of your favorite ice cream or a little fresh whipped cream. It doesn't get any better than this.

Please join other participants at Designs by Gollum for some other tempting reipes.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tablescape Thursday

It is time once again for Tablescape Thursday hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. You can visit Susan's blog to see other imaginative and creative tablescape participants by clicking here.

My table is a 1920's mahogany table that we use most often in our home. Our breakfast room and family table. The neat thing about this table is that the leaf is hidden within the table. You pull it out and the leaf is folded inside. It helped to date the table because of the hidden leaf.

My table is set for four and I am looking forward to Fall and cooler temperatures so I have a more Fall like color scheme.

The chicks are a gift from a very dear friend and will be perfect for a casual dinner with a Chicken Pot Pie cooked in them. The white dinner plates are Vilroy & Boch and the silverware is my hotel silver. The stemware is some I picked up online from WS Home, I really enjoy this stemware.

I have also used in this table setting some of my sterling silver napkin rings. Most of my napkin rings are French but I do have some that are English and even have one from Czarist Russia. This was a collection I started as a result of a suggestion from the same dear friend who sent me the chicks. I have enjoyed this collection immensely and they are always a conversation piece at a dinner party. Everyone wants to know from where they came.

The three above are French and I love the intricate details of French napkin rings. The one below is the one from Czarist Russia. This is my husbands favorite so I always place it where he is sitting. Notice the red enameling and the tiny two rows of seed pearls above and below the red enameling.

Dinner would not be complete without a bottle of wine. This happens to be a French Rose' that I have enjoyed this summer. I like reds but for the summer a rose' is a little lighter. It is sitting in my Waterford wine holder.

My candle holder is very old and I found it at an antique shop many years ago in Apalachicola, FL. It has a rustic look to it that I dearly love. Completing my table arrangement are my silver pheasants.

Another of my favorite pieces when serving a salad is my Vietri Foglia salad bowl.

I really like to set a table in our more informal area of our home but yet using some of my finer things and some rustic more casual things. It makes for a comfortable mix.

Thank you for visiting my blog and don't forget to visit other participants of Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.