Thursday, June 27, 2013

Shrimp and Pasta Salad

This was a new recipe that I have tried recently. Actually, I most often love any kind of pasta salad but this was amazing. Loved, loved, loved it. The best thing about it was that Mr. Picky Eater liked it too.

The recipe comes from a cookbook by Johnnie Gabriel, Cooking in The South. She owns a deli and restaurant in the Atlanta area and I have found it to be an excellent book. I have enjoyed cooking from this book especially this recipe. It is a keeper!!!!

Shrimp Pasta Salad

1 (1-pound) box macaroni shells
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Spanish olive oil
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
3 to 5 pounds medium shrimp, cooked and peeled
1 (6-ounce) jar pimentos, drained
2 medium Kosher dill pickles, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped black olives
Garlic salt, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta until tender according to the package directions. Drain and cool. In a small bowl whisk together the mustard, mayonnaise, and olive oil. In a large bowl combine the chopped eggs, pasta, shrimp, pimentos, pickles, and onion. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the macaroni mixture and toss well. Season with garlic salt, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The boiled chopped eggs make this dish.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

* If you use shrimp larger than medium, chop the shrimp into bite-size pieces.

My Notes: I used dill relish instead of cutting up dill pickles, about 2 tablespoons. The shrimp I sautéed in a tablespoon of butter, they were peeled, deveined with tales removed and I used medium shrimp and only about 2 pounds. After sautéing them in butter I cut them into bite sized pieces. I also added 4 stalks of heart of celery finely chopped. I can't eat a shrimp salad without celery in it.?????

This was the most amazing pasta salad I have ever made and I do LOVE a great pasta salad.

Served on a bed of fresh baby greens with a side salad of Heirloom Baby Tomatoes with a drizzle of Basil infused Olive Oil with a splash of French Sea Salt, Wellllllllllllll, it doesn't get any better than that.

This is a light Summer dinner but oh so very good.
Try this, you will not be disappointed. I know I am so fortunate to have fresh shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico year round but even frozen shrimp from the grocery would be great in this recipe.
I am sharing this post at Foodie Friday. To see other amazing recipes click on to Foodie Friday.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Passion for Orchids

I do have a passion for orchids but truly I am a novice .I do not have a greenhouse but wish I did but our weather here in N FL works very well for orchids . I keep them in filtered outside until they are once again blooming and then I bring them indoors . I have been fortunate that I have been able to bring some of my collection of orchids back into bloom and want to share my blooming orchids that I have enjoyed over the past month with you for Outdoor Wednesday .

This particular one is so large that I never bring it inside but enjoy it while in bloom on my patio . It is a cymbidium and not one of the easier of orchids to grow but I have had a little success with them .
This is one of my favorites, another cymbidium and I just love that touch of hot pink with the yellow throat on this white orchid. I think it is a knock out.

This is another cymbidium and I  move them all over the house . This one is in our family room . The color of the orchid works very well with the colors I use in this room .

This one is commonly called a Slipper orchid, sorry that I don't have the botanical name handy but I have placed this one on my island in my kitchen .
This is another orchid which I placed on my island before the Slipper orchid began to bloom. I often move them around. When we renovated our kitchen the surface of the island is called Zebra wood and it comes from Africa. When I am home there is always a candle burning on my island , it gives an ambiance that is very pleasurable to me .


I have enjoyed sharing some of my orchids , my passion for orchids , that I now have blooming . I am sharing this post at Susan's blog , A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday. You can click HERE to see other interesting posts shared at this blogging party.
I hope each of you are having a wonderful day.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tomato Basil Pie

When the intense heat of our summer rolls around it is also a time for really good local tomatoes . My mind immediately begins to crave a good Tomato Basil Pie . I know I have posted this recipe before but it bears repeating because it is my favorite . Not exactly low-cal but it is oh so very good and a slice or two doesn't totally break with the diet . 

This is a recipe from one of Paula Deen's cookbooks . I am not a big fan of Paula's and almost never cook from her books but do have all of them . This just happens to be my favorite recipe for Tomato Basil Pie and I have tried many recipes .

 It's one of those quick and easy recipe's to prepare and oh sooooooo good .
4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/3 cup chopped green onion
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups grated mozzarella and Cheddar cheese, combined
1 cup mayonnaise
One 9-inch prebaked deep-dish pie shell
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer tomato slices, basil, and onion in the pie shell . Add salt and pepper to taste . Mix together grated cheese and mayonnaise . Spread on top of tomatoes. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned .
My Notes: A store bought crust is fine for this recipe and I blind bake the crust with a round of parchment in the bottom and pie stones . I also add more basil and green onions called for in the recipe . I never peel the tomatoes either . And I always use freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt, it makes such a difference to the taste .
It looks so pretty even before adding the topping with the combination of the colors .
 I am fortunate enough that I always have fresh basil in my herb garden . I often have stems of basil sitting on my countertop to use whenever I need it . Since I dearly love fresh basil I use it a lot .
 There is ONLY one mayonnaise that I ever use .  Here in the South there are only two kinds used, Hellman's or Duke's and I prefer Hellman's .

 Just before popping it into the oven .
The combination of the cheddar and mozzarella is amazing . I always use a very good cheddar , in this case it was one from Beecher's which is an excellent cheese company in Seattle . They have since opened a shop in New York , I often order from them online. The mozzarella is not slices but in a block so it can be grated and the one I used was imported from Italy. Using the best ingredients you can makes such a difference when cooking IMO .
It browns up beautifully and I could not wait to have that first yummy bite .

It pares beautifully with a simple mixed green salad to round out the dinner. A light dinner and both myself and my husband don't like too heavy of a dinner during the heat of this time of year .

I am sharing this post at Stonegable for what's On the Menu Monday .

Monday, June 10, 2013

A New Look to our Master Bedroom

It has been such a long time since I have posted on my blog. My 42 year old son has been quite ill. It began a year ago June 13, 2012 when he experienced an accidental gun shot wound to his leg shattering his tibia. It has been such a roller coaster ride during this lengthy recovery. About the second week in May of this year it was decided that he would undergo another surgery, this time to place a titanium rod in his leg. Everything was going well, his leg was feeling stronger when he began to run a low grade fever. Suddenly it went up higher, 102.7* and he had to go back into the hospital. He had developed a severe infection. He was there for a little over a week and had three more surgeries. He is now home but will be on antibiotics for at least another year, for six weeks intravenously and then orally another year. The infection did enter the bone which is why the lengthy time on antibiotics. He seems to be doing well under the circumstances but as you can imagine it has been such an emotional roller coaster for the past year and up until most recently.

I need to try to lower my stress and blogging is very helpful in that regard, a creative outlet so to speak. I think I need to get back to doing the things I love. So I am going to once again get back to the blogging that I enjoy dearly. It is as most of you know a therapeutic outlet.

Susan at Between Naps on the Porch has this wonderful blogging party called Metamorphosis Monday. So today I am sharing a change I have made recently in our master bedroom. I don't have any before pictures but will share what I have changed recently.

At a time when most people are taking down draperies especially to have more light in their home I decided to put some up. I had bought these red and khaki  silk drapes many months ago but since I had wooden blinds on each window I still wasn't sure if I wanted to put them up. I am now glad I did because I think it added a little elegance to our master bedroom and pulling them back and having them held stationary with wooden holders doesn't really take away any of my natural lighting.

The bed is a queen solid mahogany four poster by Henredon. We found this bed years ago in a sale room in one of the furniture outlets in Hickory, NC. There wasn't a scratch on it and both my husband and myself just loved it. The fan we put up when we built the house 33 years ago.

Two other changes I made besides adding the drapes was to buy a new comforter. At the time I bought it I had brought home a pillow with the same print on it to make sure it would go with the silk plaid bed skirt I had had made some time ago. Wellllllllll, often you don't get a really good visual when trying determine if something will work well with a smaller piece of the fabric. The colors worked well but after bringing home the comforter it just didn't seem to go all that well. The very traditional silk plaid did not work well with this new comforter. What to do????? I decided to take the silk bed skirt off so you could then see the beautiful mahogany wood across the bottom of the bed and I then felt like I had eliminated a dust collector, what a revelation. I've never been without a bed skirt so it was an adjustment but I am really liking the way it looks now.

On the far wall is my dresser, one that we bought at an antique show many years ago. It is a most unusually tall English Mahogany straight front chest and was made some time between 1820 - 1830. All the brass hardware is original to the piece.

In the corner of the room is a very old mahogany étagère  that houses our TV and also many of my quilts, one of which that was made by my paternal grandmother and another that was made by my maternal grandmother. I wish I had more info about this furniture piece but I don't. Sometimes I wish that some of my antique furniture could talk and tell me the stories behind each piece. Such as where it has been, who took care of it, etc.

On the opposite wall of our bed is my husband's dresser. It too is a mahogany piece made by Ralph Lauren as is the mirror. I love the claw feet and the drawers are burled. Not an antique but it works well with the other furniture and I have never been one to buy a "bedroom suite", that to me is so boring. I love the hunt of finding furniture that I like whether they be new or antiques and mixing things up, that is what is comfortable to me. The small lamp on his dresser is made by Waterford. My husband and I have been collecting Waterford lamps for years so that little lamp is a part of a much larger collection.

This little love seat couch is very dear to me, it once belonged to my grandmother. I spent many a time sitting on that couch in her home. We also had it in my Dad's room while he lived with us for a couple of years before his passing and it's small size was perfect in his room when he had guests. His ill health caused him to be confined to his room so all of his visitors went to his room to visit. I have since recovered it in a silk mini plaid that picks up all the other colors in the room. I am one of those that mixes a lot of prints as well.

My bed is fairly high and the little stepstool once belonged to my mother so it too has some sentimental value. I covered it in a flame stitch with bees embroidered on it.

This is on top of my dresser and the oil painting above is one that my mother had painted. I can remember being with her when she took the photograph to paint from. We were in Monticello at the time, FL that is. Back to my new drapes, I hung them as high as I could so I could continue to enjoy the natural light.
All of the drapery hardware is solid mahogany and the finials, what else but a pinecone. They are true to this area and I loved these finials. I have used the same finials all over the upstairs of my house.
I am enjoying the changes in our master bedroom most especially the drapes that I had the hardest time deciding whether or not to put up. I'm glad I did finally put them up.
As I mentioned earlier in this post I am linking to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.