Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rosie Visits With Maxine In Danville.

 This past weekend,
the Hawthornes took a quick trip -
Mr. Hawthorne to his family reunion,
and I to Maxine's in Danville
for her retirement (from Averett University) luncheon.
Happy Retirement,  Dear Maxine!

The Ladies-Who-Lunch are lunching at the
This is one of the mansions 
on Danville's famed Millionaire's Row.
Main Street in Danville, Virginia,
showcases one of the pre-eminent collections
of Edwardian and Victorian architecture in the South.
It's an indication of the pride Danvillians took
in the affluence they enjoyed post Civil War.
In the late 1800s, the city flourished
from the tobacco and textile industries
and the executives/barons celebrated their prosperity
by building this impressive row of stately mansions,
featuring Georgian, French Renaissance Chateaux,
Romanesque Revival,  Italianate, American Picturesque,
Gothic Revival, New-Classical Revival, 
and Queen Anne architectural styles.

Thomas Benton Fitzgerald,
 Danville's foremost architect/builder of that era,
built this house for tobacconist, Robert Lawson, in 1881.
Lawson only lived here for three years,
dying in 1884.
The house exchanged hands several times,
eventually being bequeathed in 1904 to W.D. and May Overbey,
a well-known couple on the Danville scene.
During this time,
the home saw many lavish entertainments.

In 1972, Dudley Overbey,
acting on behalf of his mother,
obtained a a permit for demolition of this historic home.
This was mere hours before the public hearing and ultimate passage
There were rumors swirling that a service station
was going to replace the house.
Overbey never exercised the permit
and the following month,
he sold the house to John and Doris DeAlba.
The DeAlbas saved the home and
completed a 5-year restoration.
The current owner and quite able cook, Cindy Castle,
continues the restoration
and operates the inn as a Bed & Breakfast
and entertainment site for lunches, dinners,
teas, and private parties.

Maxine enjoyed a private luncheon..

Enjoy the pictures.

 Interesting side note:
Notice the iron fence,
one of the few iron fences remaining in the city.
It is not original.
Mrs. Overbey donated the original
to the war effort during World War I and later replaced it.

Mama Hawthorne lived next door.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rosie Makes Seared Caramelized Scallops With A Champagne Vinaigrette.

 Ooooh, boy.
I loved this dinner,
but then you know how I love my scallops.

I adapted this recipe from something I saw 
Bobby Flay make on the Food Network the other day.
It's seared, caramelized scallops
served with a green pea champagne vinaigrette.

Bobby's recipe called for fresh peas.
I can't get fresh peas here,
so I used frozen.

Bobby's recipe called for champagne vinegar.
I ain't paying $16 for a baby bottle of champagne vinegar
when I can get a totally drinkable bottle of champagne for $8.99.
As Mr. Hawthorne says, I'm a cheap date.
I only needed 1/4 cup of champagne for the vinaigrette,
so that meant I had to finish the rest of the bottle by myself..
Don't you just hate it when that happens?
Oh, the things I must do for my readers.

 Green Pea Vinaigrette
1 cup frozen green peas, blanched in salted water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup champagne
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 TB honey
1 capful white distilled vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
2 TB fresh chopped mint
2 TB freshly chopped parsley

Bring salted water to a boil.
Pour in peas.
Blanch for about one minute.
Plunge into an ice water bath
to set the bright green color and stop the cooking.

Whisk rest of ingredients together.
Stir in peas.
Let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes
so the flavors can meld together.

Mix the mustard in with the olive oil.
Add in the honey.
Whisk in champagne.
Where's the bottle?!!?

A little Kosher salt.

Capful of white vinegar.

Mint and parsley.

Peas in.

 Taste test.
I love minty green peas!
Adjust dressing if you need to.
Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes
to allow the flavors to blend.
   I love champagne!!

While my peas were bathing
in the champagne vinaigrette,
I went to work on the scallops.
Rinse first,
then pat dry with paper towels.
 See that little tab on the side of the scallop?

  Pull it off.
 It's easy to remove.

This is the adductor muscle of the scallop 
 and it holds the two shells together.
The scallop uses this muscle to clamp
its shell shut to defend itself.
The scallop also uses this muscle
to clap their shells together quickly,
which moves a jet of water out
and propels the scallop forward.

A lot of people eat this muscle,
but I don't like it.
It's  tough, stringy, 
and invariably gets stuck in my teeth.

 Dispose of the muscles.
 Here, Dogwood, kittykittykitty!
He's probably got the munchies now,
since he's been into the nip.

  I want my scallops to caramelize
when I sear them,
so I'm adding a little turbinado sugar,
or sugar in the raw.
You could use regular white sugar,
but the brown has better flavor.
 I never salt my scallops,
but I do add freshly ground pepper.

Heat 1 TB butter and 1 TB peanut oil
over medium high heat.
Add in the scallops
and leave them alone.
Let them cook about one minute
or until they release themselves from the pan.
If you try to force them,
you'll tear the scallops and leave the goodie bits in the pan.
Cook about 1 minute on each side.
Never overcook a scallop.

Remove scallops from pan and plate.
Add green pea vinaigrette over scallops.
And if you want to deglaze the pan
with some white wine,
scraping up the goodie bits,
by all means go ahead.
I won't stop you.
And then if you want to swirl some
 pats of butter in the pan to enrich the sauce,
again, I won't stop you.

 Bon app├ętit!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Rosie Makes Panzanella.

 I've been waiting all year long for decent tomatoes -
homegrown, vine-ripened, and sun-kissed.
Finally, tomato season is here!

I'm celebrating my summer tomato crop
with a light and refreshing panzanella,
a classic Tuscan tomato salad
which combines juicy, rustically ripe
summer tomatoes with a sharp vinaigrette,
savory croutons to soak up all that wonderful juice,
and loads of fresh, fragrant basil.
It's Summer-On-A-Plate!


For the croutons:
1 loaf French bread, torn into 1-inch cubes
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 TB unsalted butter, melted
freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 300°.  Place a baking sheet in the oven with two tablespoons butter on it and let the butter melt as the oven heats.  Remove pan from the oven, add the olive oil, then quickly toss the bread crumbs in the pan to coat with the oil and butter.  Season with freshly ground salt and pepper.  Bake until croutons are light brown and crunchy, about 25 minutes.

While the croutons are baking, make the vinaigrette and prep the vegetables.

For the vinaigrette:
1 garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 TB lemon juice
2 TB red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste.

Combine first 5 ingredients, then gradually whisk in the olive oil to form an emulsion.  Season to taste.

For the salad:
3 large ripe tomatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes.
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 bell peppers, cut into ½-inch cubes
I always use a combination of colors - green, yellow, orange, and red peppers.  I like the pretty.
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn

Combine salad ingredients.  Pour vinaigrette over top and toss to coat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Let mixture sit at least 30 minutes.  The longer it sits, the juicier it gets.  Season with freshly ground salt and pepper.  Add in the croutons, toss, and enjoy summer at its finest.

I'm starting on the croutons first.
Place the butter on a baking pan,
stick in the oven,
and heat to 300°.
Let the butter melt.
While the butter is melting, 
take a loaf of French bread and ...

  ... tear it into pieces.

 When the butter has melted,
add the olive oil to the pan
and pour in the bread cubes.
Toss to coat.

 Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bake in a 300° oven for about 25 minutes.

While the croutons are baking,
start on the vinaigrette.

Dijon mustard
red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

I'm making my own red wine vinegar.
I used 1 TB of Merlot
and 1 TB of rice vinegar.

 Mince the shallot and garlic.
Mix all ingredients.

On to the meat of the dish - the vegetables.
 I have tomatoes, green, yellow, orange, yellow, and red peppers,
red onion, cucumber, and basil.
 I always peel and seed my tomatoes.
Lightly juice them.
Give the peppers a dice.

 Dice the cucumber.

 Add in the chopped red onion.

  Season with freshly ground salt and pepper.

  Add in the torn basil leaves.

 Whisk the vinaigrette ...

 ...  before pouring over the vegetables.

 Toss to coat.

 Serve with croutons.