17 April 2014

Strawberries and Whipped Cream Party Treats

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I still contend that some of the most delightful things in life are the most simple.  

A couple years back I wrote a recipe with only two ingredients that became one of my most popular -- Raspberries and Chocolate.

In that same vein I bring you -- strawberries and whipped cream.

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I was looking for a fun and easy treat that could be made up ahead of time and served when friends stop over.

The iconic strawberry mixed with whipped cream and served as a shortcake is so appealing, but not really a easy pop-in-mouth appetizer. 

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The trick is making a cut on the bottom so the strawberry can sit upright without tipping over.  I cored the inside to give the whip cream a place to be piped into and form a base.  

Fear not, all of the left over pieces were consumed.  No strawberry piece was left behind.

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The Shopping List:
  • 1 pint fresh Strawberries
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tsp Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • a dash of cinnamon
The Method:

Cut the bottoms of the strawberries so they lay flat, cut the stem and pit them to create a bed for the whipped cream.

Place a metal or glass bowl in a freezer for about fifteen minutes.  This will help the cream froth easier.  In the bowl add the heavy whipping cream and beginning mixing to get air into it.  Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until it forms peaks.  

Put the whipped cream into a pastry bag, or a plastic bag and cut the corner to form a tip.  Use the strawberry pit to form a base and add in a dollop.  Top with a sprinkling of cinnamon. 

Keep in the refrigerator covered until ready to serve.

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14 April 2014

Published in Saveurs Russia May-June Issue

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I cook because I love to create.  I also really love to eat.  I'm kind of a pro at it. 

The experimentation with flavors and the opportunity to create imagery to share with others makes the entire process mentally stimulating.  This blog was started as a way to categorize the most successful of those experiments, and maintain a personal cookbook of sorts. 

Folks might ask what I did to the recipes that failed.  Does not happen.  Nope, never burnt anything, overcooked a dish or forgot to add a key ingredient.  Never ever. *shakes head and tries to look innocent*

About a month back I was contacted by the editor-in-chief of Saveurs magazine's Russian edition about featuring my Baby Potatoes with Asparagus and Caper Dressing in their May-June publication in a section called A Votre Santé! where they invite healthy food bloggers to share recipes and stories.  The theme for this particular issue is spring vegetables, which for Russia is later then most of the United States.

Thankfully they sent me a PDF of the article.  Which is in Russian, so I had to have a little help with the translation.

The first draft I put together to send to them went something like:
Meet Amy of the blog, Beloved Green.  She is a cat lady who loves to crochet and needs at least two caffeinated drinks per day to survive.  In her free time she recites Starwars episodes IV, V, and VI by heart to folks she meets at the grocery store.  She loves her wine.
But then I remembered I tried to be a bit more respectable -- it is my first published recipe after all-- and with the help of Google translate it came back with a bit more finesse:
Amy lives in the Northwestern United States by the ocean where it is green (this explains her name, ha)  She is a long distance runner and practices yoga, so it is necessary for her to have a diet filled with nutrients and sustenance.  Amy dreams of having a small plot of land and growing the foods she cooks with.
A delightful nod to the other bloggers were also featured in this issue:

11 April 2014

Strawberry and Grilled Chicken Salad

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I found the most beautiful handmade hardwood kitchen utensils at the Best of the Northwest Arts Fair.  The booth was Fisher Woodworking, and the artisan, Geoff, showed me many of his favorites including a flat-edged spoon made of mahogany.  The spoon could stand alone as a beautiful piece of artwork, however I gave it a try when I candied some walnuts.  

Unfortunately Geoff does not have a website, but I do have his email address.   Hopefully I will be able to pick up a few more pieces at another local art fair.  The best part about buying direct from the artisan, he not only told me about the process he goes through to hand-make a piece, but also the care instructions.  My spoon even included a couple small sheets of sand paper to keep them looking beautiful and functional. 

I also picked up some adorable kitty earrings, and this awesome print by Jeff Haynie of Haagar the Hairy"He came to Purr and Pillage."  Pop quiz, how many mice can you find in the photo below?

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No purring nor pillaging necessary today though.  

Just a beautifully simple afternoon salad filled with sweet strawberries and crisp bacon.  Pretty much a little slice of heaven.

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The Shopping List:
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 cups spinach, cut and cleaned
  • 2 cups arugula, cut and cleaned
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
The Method:
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place them on a heated grill griddle, cook for two to four minutes on each side.  Place the chicken breasts aside, and place bacon on, and cook one to two minutes each side.  Place on a paper towel to absorb extra grease.  Cut the chicken on a bias, and the bacon into small pieces.

Place a saucepan on medium heat.  Toast the walnuts for a minute and then add in the honey.  Stir until coated and then pull from heat and allow them to set.

To make the dressing, cut strawberries into small slices.  Save two strawberries to place in a food processor.  Add in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste to the food processor.  If your feeling adventurous, take the drippings from the griddle and add them in as well.  Pulse until strawberries are blended.

In a bowl mix the spinach and arugula.  Add in the strawberries, chicken, bacon, and candied walnuts and give it a mix.  Finally drizzle with the strawberry vinaigrette dressing.  Enjoy!

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