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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thick and Robust Barbecue sauce and Happy Fourth to You!

When you live 25 miles from the closest grocery store you learn to make lists. Now I can make lists all day long but I always seem to leave them on the kitchen counter, or hidden in my purse (or whose knows where else they end up). Anyway, they are never to be found until we are on our return trip home.

My husband has been wanting to barbecue chicken on the grill, one of his summer dinnertime favorites. So when it came time to start the preparation for the chicken, he could not find the sauce. And since I seemed to have misplaced “the list” on the last particular trip it appears we did not have any. Uh-oh….. but it all worked out in the end, we found a great recipe on – line from Southern magazine. I never realized how easy and quick a condiment like this would be to make. The BBQ sauce was delicious and can keep up to a week refrigerated.

Recipe slightly adapted from Southern Living, click here for original recipe.


3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire
1 garlic clove (minced)
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

To prepare:

In a medium saucepan over medium heat add all the ingredients together and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes stirring occasionally. (your sauce will thicken as it cools).

This is a great sauce for grilling, Happy Fourth of July everybody! Picture below is from last year's La De Da parade. Always a little quirky but always loads of fun. A copy of the rules here.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cottage Cooking Club June

We are now officially in our second year of the Cottage Cooking Club; a group of international blogger's cooking together and then posting our experiences along with the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's cookbook, "River Cottage Veg". Our group is meant to be a project aimed at incorporating more vegetable dishes in our everyday cooking, and is and has been inspired by our dedicated leader Andrea of the The Kitchen Lioness. Andrea picks one recipe from each of the chapters. This month I prepared 3 of the 10 recipes and was again very pleased with each one.

The first recipe I prepared was the Macaroni peas. Cooking the pasta took the most time. Then a pea sauce was made in the food processor using pasta water along half of the peas, Parmesan and pepper. The sauce is then added to pasta and the other half of the peas and lightly garnished with fresh parsley. A delicious quick and light mid-week dinner that was enjoyed by all. I used frozen peas for this.

The next recipe I made was the New potato salad “tartare”. Tartare in this case represents a deconstructed version of a tartare sauce. Here I used small new potatoes. A cider vinegar was used in the vinaigrette, mustard, oil, salt and pepper. Herbs, capers and gherkins were added along with soft boiled eggs. My husband and I really enjoyed this salad, and the fact that no mayo was involved. The cider vinegar gave this salad a little twang and the herbs brought such wonderful flavor. I will definitely make this again.

Lastly I prepared the ribollita soup which literally means “reboiled”. Traditionally this Italian soup was made in large quantities so it could be reheated over and over. Just a few vegetables are added along with white beans kale and chopped tomatoes. When serving place a slice of toasted crusty bread on the bottom of each bowl and ladle soup over. This made a very satisfying lunch.

Recipes adapted from the River Cottage Veg, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. First recipe; from the chapter "Pasta and Rice" Macaroni Peas" (page 264). Second dish from the chapter "Hearty Salads" New Potato Salad “tartare” (page 79). Third dish from the chapter “Hefty Soups” Ribollita (page 151).

To see what recipes the other members chose for this month, head over to the LYL post for June 2015 on the CCC website, by clicking here.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Spelt Pasta with Tomato and Broccoli

Looking out at the ocean I feel peaceful and at home. The waves go on for miles and miles. Brown pelicans swoop down in a formation close to the water looking for food. There are times during the day that you can hear the waves pounding against the rocks. The rocks are basalt, an extension of the ocean floor. So quiet and so busy all at the same time.

The garden is coming along and I am harvesting lettuce leaves off the plants one and two at a time. It is still too early for most of greens so I am having to pick up them up at the farmer’s market. Last week I picked up some beautiful tomatoes and broccoli from a farm in central Oregon. The tomatoes tasted like a real tomato, you know……. the summer kind, and that is how this dinner came about, spelt pasta with tomato and broccoli.


1 pound fresh spelt pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 red onion (chopped)
½ cup white wine
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 to 4 large tomatoes ( seeded and chopped into pieces)
2 large heads broccoli (trimmed to florets)

To prepare:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until tender but firm to the bite about 2 to 4 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then scoop out pasta and set aside. Bring water back up to a boil; add broccoli and cook until just tender about 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Next the red onion is sautéed until softened about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cook another minute; stirring constantly. Add tomatoes and saute another 5 minutes or so, add wine and cook down until almost evaporated. Add broccoli, lemon zest and juice and stir to combine. Then add cream, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes. The sauce should begin to thicken.

Add pasta and combine, if necessary add the pasta water (a half a cup at a time) until you get the right consistency. (I only added 1/2 cup) Enjoy! 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Salmon Two Ways

We have been eating salmon like there is no tomorrow, well maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but nevertheless we have been eating a lot of salmon. Today I have two recipes that are completely different from each other. One in which the salmon is poached with roasted garlic (mellow) and the other which is grilled and then topped with a compound butter (intense). Both of these recipes are from Giada de Laurentis.

The first dish is rotini pasta with salmon and roasted garlic. Preparation begins by first roasting two heads of garlic. (When roasted, garlic becomes soft and mellow in flavor). Next a broth is made by combining chicken broth and Marsala wine. One head of the roasted garlic cloves is mashed into the broth and simmered about 4 minutes. Then the salmon is cut up into cubes and poached in the broth. The dish is completed by adding the pasta; the other head of garlic cloves, fresh rosemary, lemon juice, zest and capers. The end result is delicately cooked salmon with pasta that is great for entertaining or an every night meal.

This recipe has been slightly adapted from Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis.


2 whole heads of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound rotini
1/2 cup Marsala or white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 pound salmon, cut into 1-inch cubes
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary (I used 1 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons drained capers
Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the top 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves. Place on a sheet of foil. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Fold foil up and around the garlic, then fold edges to seal and make a tight packet. Roast until soft about 60 minutes.

Let the garlic cool slightly, then squeeze the cloves out of the skin. Mash half of the roasted garlic. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until firm to the bite. Drain.

In a large heavy skillet; combine Marsala and broth together and bring to a simmer. Add mashed garlic and stir to dissolve. Simmer uncovered for 4 minutes, then add the salmon, cover and simmer 4 more minutes. Remove from heat, add the remaining garlic, lemon juice and zest, rosemary and cooked pasta. Stir to combine. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately....Enjoy!

The second dish is grilled salmon with sun-dried tomato butter. Here the salmon is grilled with a little salt, pepper, dried oregano and olive oil. (I used the sun-dried tomato oil in place of the regular olive oil). It is served with a small pat of sundried tomato compound butter which was easy to prepare. Basically just sundried tomatoes, butter, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Such a simple and incredibly delicious meal.

This recipe has been slightly adapted from the Food Network by Giada De Laurentiis.



Salt and pepper
Dried oregano
2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato oil (recipe uses olive oil)
4 - 6 ounce salmon steaks


1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup sundried tomatoes (including oil and herbs)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (I did not add)
3/4 teaspoon salt (I added 1/2)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (used just a few shakes)

To prepare the butter:

Add butter, sun-dried tomato,oregano, salt and pepper to food processor. Pulse until sun-dried tomatoes are finely chopped. Form into a log on a piece of saran wrap or parchment papper, creating a cylinder. Twist the ends and freeze at least an hour before dinner.

To prepare the salmon:

Sprinkle both sides of the salmon with salt, pepper and oregano. Drizzle with sun-dried tomato oil.

Grill about 3 to 5 minutes on each side until cooked through.

Serve with a pat of compund butter on top. Enjoy!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Nasturtiums as Garnish

The sun came out early today. The wind was blowing like mad. We decided to hike around Cape Perpetua. There were white caps out in the ocean and the tall pines around us were softly creaking back and forth. I love the feeling of the fresh sea air against my face.

In the classification of edible flowers I found that nasturtiums are the easiest to grow. They grow very fast and can be great climbers. The leaves, seed pods and flowers are all edible. The flavor is slightly peppery and the leaves even more so. I’m always trying to find new ways to use them. In this recipe; I used the flowers as a garnish.

Since this was my first time making any type of custardy type dessert I decided to follow one of Ina Garten’s recipes. They always seem to turn out perfect. The flavor was delicious…… but if you look closely at the sides of the my panna cotta it is not real smooth. Maybe I did not dissolve the gelatin or sugar enough? I thought I did. Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions please let me know………..


1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (divided)
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon (divided)
6 nasturtiums (for garnish)

To prepare:

To dissolve gelatin, add gelatin and water together in a small bowl; stir and set aside for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 of the cream, yogurt, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds. In a small saucepan heat remaining 3/4 cup of cream and 1/3 cup of sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. (Do not let boil) Remove from heat add gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve.

Pour the hot cream gelatin mixture into the cold creamy-yogurt mixture and stir to combine. Pour into 6 4-ounce ramekins and refrigerate uncovered until cold. When chilled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To serve:

Run a small knife around each dessert and dip the bottom of each ramekin in a bowl of hot water. Invert onto individual serving plates. Add garnish. Enjoy.

Recipe has been slightly adapted from Ina Garten from the Food Network.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Settling In

It was late in the afternoon when we arrived. My husband and I had been on the road two full days with the dogs, yes; we now have my mom’s dog Molly. She is a herder, barker and has quite the personality which is completely different from our chocolate lab Olive; who is very laid back. We’ve been traveling in our Prius stuffed to the brim for our 4 month stay in Oregon. We unloaded, fed the dogs and drove into town for a quick bite.

Next thing on the agenda was to check out the front yard and garden area. As you can see I had my work laid out for me. My next few days were very busy.

After I cleaned out and prepped the garden I planted 48 lettuce plants, some kale, edamame, beans and herbs. All I can say is that it feels wonderful to be working outdoors with my hands in the soil again.

Yesterday we drove up to the town of Newport and picked up our first whole salmon of the season....right off the boat. I decided to make Ina Garten’s fresh dill sauce after reading the rave reviews, recipe is here on-line. We baked the salmon at 425 degrees, following  the Kitchn's  "How to Cook Salmon in the Oven" and it was perfect.

Talk about a real treat! It's nice to be settling in.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cottage Cooking Club Month of May

We are now officially in our second year of the Cottage Cooking Club; a group of international blogger's cooking together and then posting our experiences along with the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's cookbook, "River Cottage Veg". Our group is meant to be a project aimed at incorporating more vegetable dishes in our everyday cooking, and is and has been inspired by our dedicated leader Andrea of the The Kitchen Lioness. Every month Andrea picks one recipe from each of the ten chapters. We then pick and choose which one or ones we want to blog about in a single post. Every month is special as each one has delicious and interesting vegetables unique to that season and climate.

The first recipe I prepared was the Cambodian Wedding Day Dip. This can be eaten hot or cold and a great appetizer for a party, serve with pita bread, crackers or veggies. Add rice and you can make it a proper meal. Basically it is sauteed mushrooms, chilies, garlic, curry powder, crunchy peanut butter, coconut milk and a few other accommodating ingredients. I tried to find the origin of this delectable nibble but I was not able to find a thing.

The mushrooms are finely diced, cooked over high heat.

Spices and coconut milk is added and then mixture is reduced down.

You will find yourself going back and forth to this one as it has so many levels of flavor, one of my new favorites to say the least.

The second recipe was the Herby, Peanutty, Noodly Salad. As you can see above this could easily be a main dish. This hits the spot when you’re hungry for a more substantial salad, it has the carbs, the herbs, the greens and like all good salads, a great dressing. Another new favorite to add to my list. Love this cookbook.

Recipes adapted from the River Cottage Veg, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. First recipe; from the chapter "Meze and Tapas" Cambodian Wedding Day Dip" (page 299). Second dish from the chapter "Hearty Salads" Herby, Peanutty, Noodly Salad (page 71).

To see what recipes the other members chose for this month, head over to the LYL post for May 2015 on the CCC website, by clicking here.

Just a quick note, my husband and I just arrived at our home in Oregon for the summer. I will be back to blogging and commenting this week. Thank you for all the heartfelt comments about my mother; they were very much appreciated.