Saturday, September 27, 2008

Martha blogs too.

Martha Stewart recently devoted an entire show to blogs and their bloggers. She is having a contest. Submit your blog here!

Friday, September 26, 2008


We bought one of our local 4-H Club's lambs from the state fair. It is being delivered today. I'm so excited. Oh the possibilities! Our deep freezer awaits. Here are some recipes I'm thinking of trying: Grilled Leg of Lamb with Pomegranate Molasses, Proscuitto and Cheese Stuffed Lamb Tenderloin, Grilled Lamb Chops With Tapenade Butter, Lamb Medallions With Black Olive Wine Sauce, and Moroccan Braised Lamb Shanks.
{photo from gettyimages}

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Welcome Autumn.

We celebrated the First Day of Fall by decorating our front porch. I also baked a pumpkin pie, which we enjoyed after a walk with Nigel (the not so good dog) around the neighborhood. Parker (the good dog) stayed home, as he has a natural hatred for the felines and they tend to run rampant in the evenings. I also have plans to make pumpkin butter and cinnamon swirl bread sometime this week. Happy Autumn.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hot off the presses!

I am so looking forward to these two books. They are both to be released in October. I have recently fallen in love with Domino Magazine. And am a longtime fan of Martha, of course. I absolutely love her baking book. It is so informative. I really learned a lot from it.

Mad Men.

We love this show. It is absolutely fabulous. The acting and writing are superb and the sets/clothing are to die for. The characters have so much depth. It is one of the best shows ever put on television in my opinion. If you aren't already watching, WATCH. You won't be sorry. Sundays @10 on AMC. Oh, and it just won an Emmy for best tv drama. So it's not just me.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Festival Frenzy.

It's a really fun time in East Tennessee. Both the Hola Festival and Greekfest are next weekend. You can sample latin foods from MANY countries, including Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Honduras, and Cuba. At Greekfest, you can tour the Greek Orthodox church, see traditional Greek dancing, try souvlaki, pastitsio, spanikopita and greek pastries. Both are great family events. If you are near Knoxville and looking for something fun to do next weekend be sure to check it out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fall Garden Time.

My poor little tired garden isn't looking so fine anymore. I have a few different kinds of plants that are still producing: kohlrabi, swiss chard, eggplants, carrots. I moved all my pumpkins out to the front porch and I'll be cutting down the cornstalks this weekend to add to my display of autumnal joy. Everything else has bitten the proverbial dust. And it is FINALLY getting cooler! So it's time to plant some fall crops. Here's the plan: shallots and early italian garlic (for a spring harvest), baby's leaf & Avon spinach, endive, arugula, red russian kale, pak choi joi choi (chinese cabbage), buttercrunch lettuce, and radicchio red surprise.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Check out these free desktop wallpapers from Cecily Ink. I like having the calendar on my desktop an awful lot.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

S'mores in a Cupcake?

I made these for our family picnic two weekends ago. I had seen them on Martha a while back and wanted to try them, but hadn't gotten around to it. I thought they'd be a fun and portable dessert for a picnic. I also made an Italian Jam Tart (which I forgot to take a photo of, but I'll post the recipe sometime since it was sooooo easy and delicious.) Plus, I finally got to use the culinary torch Scott got for Christmas last year. (We just never seem to get around to creme brulee.) I used giant cupcake liners, so I only got about half the yield. Everyone ended up cutting them in half, but I thought they looked cooler in big form.
Makes 2 dozen
  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Marshmallow Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Sift 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.
  4. Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping.
  6. Place 2 teaspoons chocolate in each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each muffin cup three-quarters full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.
  7. Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round or French tip (such as Ateco #867 or Ateco #809). Pipe frosting in a spiral motion on each cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container, up to 2 days.

The Lone Melon.

It's sad but true. Only one watermelon survived whatever that was that was eating the babies and the blooms. Way to go, little melon. However, meet your arch nemesis, the melon baller.

Grilled to Perfection.

We grill pizza. Yep, right there on the plain 'ol gas grill. No fancy pizza stones. People seem shocked by this. Trust me. It doesn't stick to the grates. The trick is to have a VERY hot grill when you throw on the dough. Grill on one side then flip it over and put your toppings on the already-grilled side. Then slide the pizza back onto the grill (I use the wrong side of a cookie sheet often, as you can see.) Here's the recipe we use for crusts.

1 pk Yeast
1/2 ts Sugar
2 tb Olive oil
2 c Flour -- to 2 1/4 c
1/2 ts Salt
1/3 c Warm water
1/3 c Warm water
Soften yeast in 1/3 c warm water for 5 minutes. Add 2 c flour and the rest of the ingredients. Knead til smooth, adding additional flour as needed. Place in greased bowl and cover and let sit til doubled. Punch down and roll out to fit pizza pan. Or just stretch to your desired shape and size if you're grilling. I like an oval for grilling.

Source: Gourmet Magazine.

Purple Potatoes!

These are my precious purple potatoes. Fresh from my garden. They are actually "Russian Blue Potatoes." Aren't they pretty? Not too pretty to eat though. We just tossed these with some olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper and grilled them in a metal grill basket. Yum.

Gingerbread Blueprints.

It's time for me to start planning for my gingerbread house. Every year I participate in a gingerbread competition. Last year I particiapted in two, the Fantasy of Trees in Knoxville and the National Gingerbread Competition in Asheville, NC. I won a blue ribbon at the FOT. I won second place the year before (for the house in the photos.) Unfortunately, due to my criminal court schedule I won't be able to go to the national competition this year. But I will be at FOT. This year's theme is "There's No Business Like Snow Business." I'm thinking about a "Hollywood" (emphasis on the "holly") theme. Maybe something like Rodeo Drive with Santa's sleigh loaded down with shopping bags from the designer shops. We'll see. I'llbe sure to post updates when I get started.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My type of jewelry.

I love these pendants from The Weekend Store. They're repurposed old typewriter keys. Just love 'em. They make rings, bracelets, and earrings too.

She's baaaack.

Martha's new episodes start today. Hopefully, they will inspire me to do some good things.

Magical Ice & Homemade Fluff

I had no idea that it wasn't common knowledge that marshmallows could be made at one's own home until recently. My co-workers were pretty surprised that this could be done. So I had to make some for 'em, of course. The reason this topic came up was a cookbook I had heard about on MSL Radio, "Marshmallows" by Elaine Talanian. I have got to procure this little baby. Another one I heard about on the radio recently is "Granita Magic." Who knew this was such a lively topic? The author was on Everyday Food chatting abou this book. Granitas are sooooo easy and apparently, the possibilities are endless. Saffron & Honey! Balsamic Red Pepper and Horseradish! Crazy stuff, but I'll try anything once.

Did I eat what?

I think I'm a fairly adveturous eater, so I took the bait. I found this over at Very Good Taste. Here’s what I was told to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.2) Redden all the items you’ve eaten.3) Italicize any items that you would never consider eating.4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bow
l33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

50% - Not sooooo bad. At least I knew what almost everything was, right? Let me know if you play along!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I'm a winner!

I won 2nd Place in the Tennessee Valley Fair for my Blackberry Jam! And 3rd place for my Blueberry Jam in the "Other Jams" category. I'm very pleased, since this was my first experienc in canning. As a matter of fact my blackberry jam was only my second try after a mediocre first try of Strawberry-pineapple jam at the beginning of summer. Next year I'll get the Blue Ribbon!

Things I'm Liking . . .

RIng Toss Necklace at Sundance

Gelsey Wedges and Adele T-straps at Sundance (

Maryjane Pumps by Wanted (at

Blogging By Mail

I just signed up for Blogging By Mail. A swap for foodies! You just sign up to send a package with 10 of your favorite things by October 18 and promise to blog about the one you receive. Last time the swap was hosted by Dispensing Happiness hosted BBM, 85 people participated. Remember to sign up by Sept. 21!