Thursday, February 26, 2015

If Life Gives You Snow, Make Snow Cream

Chocolate snow cream. *

The Weather Forecasters were predicting a rather substantial snow fall last night, so I set out a large bowl on our patio table out back to catch some snow for making snow cream.  When I was a kid my Mama made snow cream for us every time there was snowfall.  As I recall she would mix a beaten egg, milk, sugar and vanilla in with the snow.  Nowadays it isn't safe to eat raw eggs so I omitted that in my recipe.  Actually I didn't have a recipe, I just mixed the snow with chocolate milk, a bit of heavy cream and sugar to taste.  Dan had requested chocolate snow cream, and we happened to have chocolate milk on hand.
Bowl full of fresh snow.

The bowl was full of snow when I got up this morning, and I thought I would put it in the freezer until I was ready to make the snow cream.  BIG MISTAKE!!!  After about an hour I began to wonder if the snow would freeze solid, so I went out to check it and sure enough the top was a layer of frozen snow, so I brought it in.  I could dig down into the bowl where the snow was still not frozen though and that is where I made the snow cream.

Top frozen.  Dug down into middle where the snow was not frozen.

I just gradually added chocolate milk, a bit of sugar, and some heavy cream into the middle of the bowl and stirred until it was incorporated with the snow.
Mixing ingredients into snow.

Ready to eat.  
It was more like a chocolate slushie.  Dan and I each had a small bowl, and it was okay.  It had to be eaten immediately because it melted quickly.

But one member of our family found it absolutely delicious.
Maggie eating a bit of the slushie.  There wasn't much chocolate milk left. (I know dogs should not eat chocolate.)
Here's a recipe I found on line, but as I said, I think you can just add the milk, and sugar to taste and to consistency.  Next time I won't put the snow in the freezer.

  • 1 gallon snow
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups milk

When it starts to snow, place a large, clean bowl outside to collect the flakes. When full, stir in sugar and vanilla to taste, then stir in just enough milk for the desired consistency. Serve at once.

* Dan is an environmental biologist, and he said it won't hurt you to eat snow cream occasionally.  This is for those of you who are worried about pollutants in the air.  Dan is very cautious about things like that, so I thought if he said it was okay it would not be harmful.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

TAZZA KITCHEN replaces Cafe Caturra in Cameron Village

TAZZA in Cameron Village

After five days being stuck inside because of the snow and ice, I was able to take Dan out on Sunday afternoon for an early dinner.  Cafe Caturra in Cameron Village was one of our favorite places to eat in the Village, but it has been replaced by TAZZA.  We read some reviews of this new restaurant online and decided to give it a try.  We had no regrets.  The ambiance, the staff, and most of all the food were superb.
A list of some of their farms on the menu.

They specialize in fresh, know your farmers food and use only antibiotic-free, hormone-free, humanely-raised pork, poultry, lamb and beef, and sustainably-harvested, chemical-free seafood. There menu offers Mexican cuisine and Italian cuisine, an unusual combination of choices. And of course pizza.  Our waiter suggested that the name TAZZA is a combination of Tacos and Pizza, but I think he may have been joking.
Dan is perusing the menu.

We shared a starter of Cast Iron Goat Cheese.  The cheese was melted in a marinara sauce and parsley and served with brick oven bread. The texture and flavor were perfect.
Cast Iron Goat Cheese with Brick Oven Bread.

Dan's entree choice was the Brick Oven Crab Cakes served with pequin chili slaw, micro greens and lemon dressing.  The slaw was a bit on the hot spicy side, but the crab cakes were quite good with lots of crab meat. The spicy slaw was because of pequin peppers, so now we know what that is.
Crab Cakes. 

I chose the Scallops with sweet potato risotto, fried sage, and brown butter.  The scallops were large, fresh and perfectly cooked and I would love to have the recipe of the sweet potato risotto.  The risotto was rich and creamy.  Yum!!!!
Scallops with sweet potato risotto. 

I had been avoiding sugar all week, so I thought I deserved a bit of something sweet.    We shared the Gelato & Cake. Two scoops of salted caramel gelato with a slice of almond and orange flourless cake, garnished with a basil leaf provided a perfect ending for a delicious dinner.
Salted caramel gelato with almond-orange flourless cake.  

We've decided we like TAZZA even better than Cafe Caturra, and I am ready to go again as soon as the now snowy weather permits.

Check out their link here.
The gelato came from gelati celesti in Richmond.  It rivals the gelato we've had in Italy.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Escape from "Cabin Fever"

Dan and I have been snowed (or should I say iced ) in most of this week.  Our street is shady and there are still a lot of icy spots, and in particular there's an icy spot just where I back out of the driveway.  Brooks and his friend came over the other day and cleared our walkway as far as the car. So yesterday I ventured out!!!

We've given up our membership at Rex Wellness, and I've not yet signed up for membership at the Y, so I thought I would go over to Crabtree Mall and get some exercise.  As soon as I neared Crabtree on Glenwood Ave. I saw that almost half of Raleigh must have had the same idea as I.  The traffic was more congested than usual, and it took me at least 15 minutes driving around the parking lot to find a place to park.
Congested traffic on Glenwood near Crahtree Mall.

Inside, yep, it looked like half of Raleigh was there.  Nonetheless, I walked three times around the mall, taking pictures now and then.  I needed to shop for only one thing, a tube of Bobby Brown lipstick, Slopes, my favorite color.  Luckily I found it.
Lipsticks at Bobby Brown shop.

I passed by the Lindt's Candy Shop where they had their Easter candy on display, and next door Pottery Barn had some cute little silver bunnies for sale.
Easter candy at Lindt's.
Silver bunnies at Pottery Barn.

On around I passed by Janie and Jack  where I used to buy clothes for my "little" grands.  They have such cute things.  It made me wish for little ones again.
My favorite store for the little ones.

Aren't these little swim trucks adorable?

A kiosk was selling bamboo pillows and linens.  You never know where bamboo is going to turn up these days, but at least bamboo is an environmentally sound crop.
I was tempted.

The mannequins at XXI Forever were dressed in something like fashions from the 1970s.  I can imagine that Granddaughter Grace will be wanting some of these maxi skirts soon.  (I actual liked\ the 1970s fashion with culottes, maxis, peasant skirts and shawls, but I was young then.)
I can imagine granddaughter Grace in an outfit like this.

In addition to getting some much needed exercise after being cooped up indoors for several days, I managed to exert a bit of will power and walk right by the Godiva chocolate shop. (I'm cutting way back on sugar these days.)
Godiva Chocolate viewed through the window.  I did not dare go inside.  

Yes it was good to get out and about if even in a crowded mall.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Black-Eyed Pea Soup

Black-eyed pea soup. 

We, particularly Dan,  are not too fond of black-eyed peas, but we do like this black-eyed pea soup.  Usually on New Year's Day I make some recipe using black-eyed peas, but this year I didn't make the soup so I thought on this cold day it would be good.  This is so easy to make, and I happened to have the ingredients on hand.

Black-Eyed Pea Soup

1/2 pound ground beef
1 cup diced onion (I used frozen diced onion.)
2 cups chicken or beef stock
1/2 cup water
2 (15 ounce) cans black-eyed peas drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce can) diced tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste (Optional: if you want a thinner soup you can omit this.)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon salt ( I omit this because we try to limit our salt intake.)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1.  In a large Dutch oven, cook the ground beef with the onion over medium heat until the beef is no longer pink, 10 to 12 minutes.
Ground beef and onion.
Cook until beef is no longer pink.

2.  Pour in the stock and water and stir in the remaining ingredients until thoroughly mixed.

Add chicken stock.
Add the drained and rinsed black-eyed peas.
Add all the remaining ingredients.  

3.  Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Simmer covered for 45 minutes. 
Ready to eat. 

Serves 4 to 6

We had this for lunch today with cheese toast.  This took about 15 minutes prep time and 1 hour cook time so it can be whipped up for a quick meal.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Seafood Chowder for a Cold, Cold Day

Seafood Chowder. 

A quick trip to New Bern provided a chance to enjoy some good seafood and to bring fresh seafood home.  We stopped at the Tryon Palace Seafood on the way home and bought some fresh flouder, oysters and scallops.  We had the flounder for breakfast this morning---a special Valentine's treat for Dan.  This afternoon I made a big pot of seafood chowder using the oysters, scallops and a can of clams,  This is going to be so good on Sunday when the temperature plummets with the wind chill in the teens or below.    Here's my recipe:

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced onions
1/2 cup celery sliced thin
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms (I just happened to have these so added them.)
2 cups fish stock (I had some frozen from poaching a salmon a few weeks ago.)
4 cups diced potatoes
1 pint oysters
1 pint scallops
1 can chopped clams
1 pint half and half
1 1/2 pints whole milk
pepper to taste
a dash of fresh grated nutmeg

Dice onions and potatoes, slice celery.

Melt butter and olive oil in large Dutch oven.
Melt butter and olive oil.

Saute onions and celery and mushrooms.
Saute onions and celery.
Add mushrooms and continue to saute until mushrooms are soft.

Add fish stock and potatoes and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are done.
Add fish stock and potatoes.  Cook over medium heat until potatoes are done.

Add oysters, scallops and clams and heat until done. (Do NOT boil.)

Add half and half and whole milk.  Heat, but do not boil.
Add cream and milk and cook over medium heat until oysters and scallops are done.  Do not overcook.

Add pepper to taste and a dash of nutmeg.  You can add salt to taste, but we don't. We add salt at the table.
Ready to enjoy.

This is going to be soooo good tomorrow on a cold, cold, Sunday. I think I will make some homemade pimento cheese for toasted sandwiches.  They will go well with the chowder.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

BHS Queen of Hearts Dance 2015

Stage ready for the Queen of Hearts Court. 

The big dance at Broughton High School each year is the Queen of Hearts Dance.  The seniors choose a theme and do all the decorations and plan all the entertainment.  This year the theme was Alice in Wonderland and the gym was decorated beautifully, and the entertainment was exceptional.
Wonderful decorations. 

For the rehearsal at noon on Saturday the public is invited.  I attended this year because my youngest grandson, Tyler, who is a freshman was escorting one of the Freshman girls on the Court.
The four freshmen escorts.  Grandson Tyler on far right. 

I was shocked to see Tyler in his tuxedo.  He is so grown up, and he looks even more grown up in a tux.  Time passes so quickly.

The Court was introduced each class at a time, with entertainment sprinkled throughout the program
Broughton Dance Team perform. 
Broughton  Jazz Ensemble perform. 

At the end the girls and their escorts danced in the middle of the gym.
Tyler and Belle dancing. 

Tyler and Belle dancing.

Each year I have gone to my grandson's house and have had my picture made with the grandsons as they dress for the Dance.
Grandpat and Brooks my senior.  He was going over to a friend's house to change into his tuxedo.  
Grandpat with Tyler and Grace.  In two years Grace will be going to the dance.  

This will be the sixth time I've done this.  Tyler will have three more years and then Grace will be there for four.  So I'm looking forward to more.

A fun day, and I'm sure the Broughton students are having fun at the dance tonight.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I Am Freeking* Out

We have been trying new grains in our diet recently---quinoa (which is actually a seed not a grain), bulger wheat, and farro.  And yesterday in the News and Observer there was an article about an ancient grain, freekeh, with a recipe for a salad using it.  I was able to find freekeh at Whole Foods.  I like this new to us grain.  I can see that it will be a good substitute for rice in soups, salads, and others dishes.

Here's the recipe for Freekeh, chickpea salad:

1 cup freekeh
1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 cup thinly sliced celery, plus 3 tablespoons chopped leaves
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon lightly toasted cumin seeds, ground, more to taste
1 garlic clove, minced or puréed (optional)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

HEAT a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and add freekeh. Toast in the dry pan, shaking pan or stirring, until freekeh becomes fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
Toasting freekeh in dry pan.
 Add 2 cups water and salt and bring to a boil.

Add water and bring to boil.
REDUCE heat to low, cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until water has been absorbed. Turn off heat and uncover. Place a clean dish towel over the pot and return lid. Let sit at least 10 minutes.

Remove pot from heat, add clean dishcloth and top and let sit for 10 minutes. 
Uncover and allow freekeh to cool another 10 minutes.
While freekeh is cooling chop herbs.
Parsley, mint, celery, and scallions.

COMBINE freekeh, chopped herbs, celery, scallions and chickpeas in a large bowl and toss together.
Mix freekeh, chickpeas, and herbs together.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, cumin, garlic, salt and olive oil; toss with salad. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired.

Serve right away or let sit for up to 1 hour before serving.
Ready to eat. 

Yield: 6 servings.

This is a nice combination of flavors, and it is rich in protein and fiber.  I added the dressing to each individual salad and not to the whole bowl because we will have four servings left over, and I don't want the ingredients to sit in the dressing.  The dressing can be added to each serving just before it is ready to eat.  I'm glad to have found another good grain to add to our diet.   

* I don't mean freaked out.  

If you would like to learn more about freekeh check this out.

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