Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers- Chocolate Valentino with Vanilla Ice Cream

This month's challenge was of course Chocolate!

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
They have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

The cake was a really intense chocolate cake that is supposed to taste really fudgy. I say supposed to because I overcooked the cake. It had a really great flavor and was really intensely chocolate, but since I over cooked mine, it was a bit dry. The cake only has four ingredients, so I chose to use really good Callebaut chocolate. I would definitely make this cake again, just not cook as long. There was a second part of our challenge and that was to make an accompaniment of ice cream. I just did a very basic vanilla ice cream and it turned out really good. Overall, a nice challenge.

Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a mixer bowl, combine milk and sugar and mix until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute on low speed. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Follow your ice cream makers directions for making ice cream.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunday Night Tradition

Greek Roasted Chicken

Pan fried potatoes with Proscuitto

Don't be turned off by my crummy pictures. I am not one of those bloggers whose pictures are ab-fab. They may not be pretty, but oh, were they delicious. Our Sunday tradition as of late has been having my father in law over for dinner. We all really look forward to our time together and we all enjoy each others company. During the week, most of our dinners are rushed due to sports schedules and all. It is nice to slow down on Sunday night and have a traditional dinner with good food and conversation. One thing I am trying to do is stretch our budget more. Like most of America, everything is a little tight. So, for Sunday's dinner I had bought two whole roasting chickens at Sams Club for about under $7.00. I cooked up both chickens last night and will get three meals for five people off of them. Not too bad! Meal number one was Kota Psiti (Greek roasted chicken). Meal number two will be chicken enchiladas and finally the last chicken meal will be Chinese chicken noodle salad. We will probably be really tired of chicken by mid week, but that's okay.

Kota Psiti (Greek Roasted Chicken, adapted from Greek Food Festival booklet, Sacramento)

2 (3lb) roasting chicking, quartered
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons dry Oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Clean and wipe chicken. Brush with oil, butter and lemon juice and put in a shallow baking pan. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle oregano over the top.

Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 300 degrees F., cover with foil and continue baking for 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.

Pan-Fried Potatoes with Prosciutto

1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and boiled until fork tender, cooled
4 ounces sliced prosciutto, cooked in olive oil until crispy, crumbled
1/2 onion, diced
Olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Emeril's seasoning mix

Dice cooled red potatoes. Heat a non stick pan and add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add onions and cook until slightly soften, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes to pan and emeril's seasoning and salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if needed. Cook until a nice brown crust starts to form on potatoes. Add crumbled cooked prosciutto and serve.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Yum-O! I tried my hand at making souvlaki, which are Greek shish- kabob's. They turned out fantastic! The flavor went through the meat and really was the most flavorful meat I have had in a long time. The only down side was that I overcooked the pork. Usually, I just do that with chicken. I would make this again, and just not cook it as long. It is well worth making again.


Pork tenderloin, cut up into 1 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon dried oregano
juice of one lemon
zest from half of lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of sherry or red wine vinegar
1 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients into a bowl and cover. Let meat marinate for 3 days in refrigerator. Thread onto skewers and grill or broil until done.

Finger Crocheting and Knitting

My little guy just learned how to finger crochet at school. He absolutely loves it! As you can see he has been very busy with his crocheting. He said that a substitute teacher taught the class how to do this on a rainy day when the kids could not go outside to recess. My guy said at first he thought it was "stupid and dumb", but now he said he stands corrected. He has deemed it super cool to crochet. I remember as a little girl finger knitting. I found this great tutorial on You Tube.

On a different note, I am very upset that Fabio went home on Top Chef. Stefan deserved to go home. However, I am pleased that Carla won the challenge. I can't wait for the finale next week.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Top Chef

Are any of you watching Top Chef on Bravo? I am addicted to this show. I absolutely love it! I wasn't sure who I would root for when the season started, but now that we are down to the final four, my favorites are Carla and fabulous Fabio. I didn't like Carla at first, but she has grown on me. I think I want Carla to win. She is goofy and seems like a really good chef. I can't wait for tomorrow's show.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

My dad, pictured on the right turns 71 today. He has had a rough year dealing with my mom's illness and his own. Growing up, I remember him working 14 to 16 hour days. He never took a vacation and unfortunately did not get to really enjoy his retirement. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's about 5 years ago. He is an avid fly fisherman and ties some mean flies. He also used to love making stain glass windows. The one below he made about 30 years ago. I think my creativity comes from his side of the family.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Weather and a Race

This weekend is crazy weather for Sacramento. We have had some really high winds and gusts up to 50 mph. If you remember last year when the strong winds hit, I was driving and a redwood tree branch hit and badly damaged our car. To say the least, I don't like the strong winds. Growing up in Sacramento, I don't really remember very severe weather except during the summer time. During the summer the temperature can get up into the 100 + for days at a time. I don't recall the winter being very remarkable. In the past few decades we have had a lot of flooding, severe storms and even a few twisters. This weekend we are fortunate enough to have the Amgen Tour of California race in our city. The racer's were lucky that the weather held out and it was not too windy and rainy. We had planned to go out and see the race, but decided against it. The estimated crowd was 75,000 strong. I was happy to watch the race from the comfort and warmth of my sofa. I am looking forward to watching the next leg today from Davis to Santa Rosa.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

New Books

A package from Amazon came today. I just love Amazon! I was excited to get Amy Hanna's new book, Rejuvenated Jewels. If you haven't checked out Amy's blog, give it a go. Her blog is one of my favorites and I try to stop by on a regular basis. Just thumbing through her book, her style is right up my ally. I love all the religious pieces she weaves into her jewelry design. Old rosary centers, reliquary pendants and old rosary beads all add charm and uniqueness to her jewelry. I can't wait to sit down with a cuppa and pour over the pages of her book. I also order Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches. I have been wanted just a good reference book on stitches and this fit the bill. The pictures are clear as are her instructions. I am looking forward to practicing some new stitches.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Broken Rosaries

I just love broken rosaries. I love being able to fix them or make them over into something new. These lovely rosaries are some that I found in the box from my mother in law. She too, was a rosary maker. There were a lot of glow in the dark rosaries, some vintage glass rosaries and wood rosaries. I am not all that fond of the glow in the dark kind, but I will find a way to make it work. I have several ideas for crafts right now, but I have not had the time to make anything. My mother finally came home from the hospital and her care is taking most of my time. I hope to get back to a somewhat normal lifestyle soon.

Lisa Hannigan

Awesome video!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

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