Friday, May 31, 2013

Rosie Makes Strawberry Salad.

Rosie is on a streak of strawberry recipes.
That strawberry farm across the bridge in Currituck
opened recently for pick-em-yourselves
and Mr. Hawthorne and I take full advantage.

There's nothing more delicious
than biting into a bursting ripe, achingly juicy,
 sun-warmed strawberry.

Today's lunch is a mixed greens salad
with sliced strawberries and red grapes,
toasted walnuts, and crumbled bleu cheese
with a Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette.

If you're not a fan of the bleu,
substitute goat cheese or fresh mozzarella.

 Rosie's Strawberry Salad
mixed salad greens
baby spinach
micro greens
sliced strawberries
sliced red grapes
toasted walnuts
crumbled bleu cheese (optional)
goat cheese or fresh mozzarella
 Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 cup sliced strawberries
juice of 1 lime
1 TB balsamic vinegar
1 TB honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients and process
until you have a smooth, pourable dressing.

Outside on the deck,
I have a terra cotta planter's shallow base
seeded with micro greens.

These will give a nice peppery punch to my salad.

I planted both a mild and a spicy mix of micro greens.
The mild mix contains beet bulls blood,
pak choy, cabbage red ace, kohlrabi, and Swiss chard luculluc.
The spicy mix contains sawtooth mustard, peppergrass cress, 
cabbage red acre, mustard red giant, and radish China rose.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rosie Makes Strawberry Custard Brûlée.

Strawberries might very well be my favorite fruit.

A few weeks ago,
the Hawthornes headed over to the Malco strawberry farm
in Point Harbor to pick our own strawberries.
Twenty pounds later, we headed home with our treasures.

Strawberry and Custard Brûlée
(Serves 6.)
1/3 cup sugar
2 TB flour
1 egg
3/4 cup skim milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 large strawberries, sliced
extra strawberries for garnish
brown sugar and/or turbinado sugar for sprinkling
powdered sugar
mint garnish, optional

Combine sugar, flour, and egg in a saucepan.
Gradually stir in milk/cream mixture.
Cook over medium low heat,
whisking briskly and constantly,
until mixture thickens, 
about 4-5 minutes.
Do not let the egg scramble.
If necessary, hover the pan over the heat source
to keep the egg from cooking.
When mixture thickens,
remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Cover and chill thoroughly.

Place two strawberries, sliced, 
in bottom of each 3/4 cup ramiken.
Spoon custard evenly over strawberries.
Sprinkle brown sugar and/or turbinado sugar
over top of the custard
and quickly fire the sugar with a mini blow torch
until crackly and bubbly.
If you don't have a kitchen torch,
place under the broiler until sugar is caramelized.
Sprinkle powdered sugar over top
and garnish with mint, if desired.
Overlap strawberry slices in bottom of your ramekins.

Cook custard mixture until nicely thickened.
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla,
 let cool, then cover and refrigerate.

When thoroughly chilled,
spoon custard into ramekins.

Sprinkle sugar over top.

Torch away!
This is the fun part.

Top with additional strawberry slices.

A crème brûlée is an amazing thing.
You have the brittle crust of caramelized sugar
contrasting with the amazingly smooth texture of custard.
And you have the heat of the caramelized sugar
paired with the coolness of the custard.
It's win-win all the way.
You can't eat this and not have a happy mouth.

If desired, prettify it up with mint leaves and powdered sugar.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rosie Makes A Quick Appetizer - Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Dates.

I like the combination of sweet and savory
and I found the perfect appetizer to showcase those flavors -
bacon-wrapped stuffed dates.

Recipe courtesy of Anne Burrell.
Of all the Food Network chefs,
I find her to be one of the best.
She fascinates me when she rolls out pasta
singlehandedly, when it takes me an extra pair of hands
plus a foot or two, and I still don't get it right.
It doesn't bother me when she tells me
I need to "burrrrn the crap outta" something;
however, it does bother me when she salts salt.
Mr. Hawthorne and I both think her tongue
must be desensitized to salt because she throws
way too much salt on everything,
but other than that,
girlfriend knows what she's doing.

Slice open the dates and remove the pits.

Fill each date with a little chunk of Manchego cheese
and squeeze dates to seal.

Wrap each date in a small slice of bacon
and secure with toothpicks.

Roast dates in a 400° oven until bacon on top crisps,
5-6 minutes,
then turn over and roast the other side.
Brush both sides with maple syrup
and return to oven until they're crackly and sticky.

Serve deliciously hot.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Hawthornes Attend Cooking Class At The North Carolina Aquarium.

Two Wednesdays ago, sadly,
was our last class of this year's
North Carolina Aquarium's seafood series.
Today's class was brought to you by Striper's Bar and Grille.
And it was quite an enjoyable presentation.
Chef Jamie Deen (not that Jamie Deen)
is entertaining and engaging,
enlisting audience participation.
The seafood de jour is striped bass or rockfish.
Rockfish is a fairly mild, flavorful, firm, white fish 
that is quite versatile, lending itself to
almost any cooking technique and style.

Our first offering was a blackened rockfish salad.

Chef Deen added salt, pepper, and blackening spice
to the fish (1 ½ lb.) and sautéed it in canola oil.
He made a wet mix of 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
1 ½ TB Dijon mustard, and ¼ cup relish.
Add the fish to the mayo mixture
 along with 3 celery stalks, chopped, and ½ red onion, chopped.

Good salad,
although I probably would have preferred this served chilled.
I have a thing about warmed-over mayonnaise.

Next, we had Striper's Rockfish Chowder, 
the winning chowder at this year's 
Taste of the Beach Chowder Cook-Off.

Rockfish Chowder
16 ounces rock fish, grilled
small yellow onion, diced
2 smoked red bell peppers, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 ounces bacon, diced
16 ounces red potatoes, diced and par cooked
2 quarts heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Pour a little oil in a medium stock pan and add
onions, peppers, garlic, and bacon.
Sauté over medium high heat,
stirring occasionally to keep from burning.
Once the bacon is brown, 
add in the heavy cream, rockfish, and cooked potatoes.
Continue to simmer over medium low heat.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with Cheddar Bay Croutons.

Cheddar Bay Croutons
Loaf bread, ½-inch cube
1 cup olive oil
4 TB Old Bay seasoning
1 cup Cheddar Jack cheese, grated

Drizzle olive oil over bread
and mix with hands to ensure even coating,
being careful not to break up the bread.
Place oiled bread cubes on a baking sheet
and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning.
Place in 350° oven
and bake for about 15 minutes or until almost crunchy.
Once they are ¾ baked,
pull them out and sprinkle with the cheese.
Return to oven to finish cooking.
Once the cheese is browned,
remove from oven and cool.

The chowder was very good
and I enjoyed the cheddar croutons.
Nice touch.

Monday, May 27, 2013

It's Time For Another Stroll Through Rosie's Garden.

Happy Memorial Day to my readers
and a big "Thank you" to all who have served
and defended our flag.
We are indebted to you.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

This is my patriotic garden - red, white, and blue.
Red poppies.
White and blue larkspur.
White flowers of cilantro.

Mr. Lincoln rose with ice plant in the background.

Queen Elizabeth rose with the ice plant.

Yellow coreopsis,
red poppies,
blue bachelor buttons,
white iberis or candytuft.



My swan, Irene, likes it here amongst the foxgloves.

Bottle brush plant.

Red, White, and Blue!

In a sea of blue larkspur,
I found 4 pink larkspurs.

Mr. Lincoln with larkspur in the background.

  Foxgloves around the fish pond.


Little kitty cat in my primrose.