Monday, September 12, 2016

Summer Crops

Where has the time gone!
For the most part summer is short and sweet in our part of the Pacific Northwest.
August is usually the summers highlight month so, we take advantage of every minute!


You may recognize this dessert, it's one of our summer favorites...raspberries, strawberries, on brownies with a mound of chocolate mousse.


We've had 4 crops in rotation......cherries, raspberries,  blueberries and rounding out the season...tomatoes.
They yield just enough for us along with a little extra to share.
And with the pickin's comes an array of dishes.



Cream cheese pie with shortbread cookie crust is our frequent flyer...with every fresh fruit that comes into season!


This pie is truly a summer  staple.


We have quite an unusual cherry tree! 
I know that you're thinking, what could possibly make a cherry tree different from all others, 
well....
 our  cherry tree actually has six varieties of cherries growing on one dwarf tree.
The only way to distinguish some of the darker cherries is by taste.
And then it can still be a surprise to our taste buds.
There's no real prep for cherries because we just nibble on them fresh and cold.
Sometimes we'll indulge and have a few over sweet cream  Gelato.



Honorable mention goes to our (sad) huckleberries who continue to  sprout 
pin-head size berries each year.
It takes H-O-U-R-S to pick those micro berries!  Short of using tweezers to pick a bowl full, 
they still yield a delightful flavor.
A very rare and appreciated treat is harvesting enough huckleberries for a tart. 



The real challenge....is fnding enough recipes for the abundance of tomatoes!
Of all the tomato dishes I've presented...the puff pastry pizza is the most requested.
Which honestly is a joy to make because the presentation looks time consuming. But,
 (my little secret) is that this can be accomplished with a few ingredients
 and minimal baking time.


I used a full sheet of (defrosted) puff pastry.
Dock the crust thoroughly with a fork before baking, this will prevent  the crust from inflating like a balloon.
Bake puff pastry just until lightly brown.
Add the toppings and continue to bake until the cheese has melted.


The skies the limit for toppings.
We've made several Margarita pizzas in utilizing our abundant supply of 
tomatoes!
I use a smear of olive oil mixed with an array of Italian spices as a base before adding the topping selection.



What really takes this pizza to a whole new taste level is the...
drum roll please.


Trader Joes
Balsamic Glaze.

Drizzle the balsamic glaze across your pizza and it will enhance the flavors.
This glaze marries well with several veggies.  Try it over... cucumbers, purple onions, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.



Puff pastry pizza is a any time meal. 
It's also great reheated as a snack.








Thursday, March 3, 2016

If you'd like to visit me at my other blog....
I post my favorites every day.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Chocolate cookies that capture the heart.

For those times when I need a quick treat and want to use whats on hand, I grab one of my frozen staples...puff pastry, filo dough or pie crust.


Valentines calls for hearts and a girls best friend...chocolate!



If you've been looking for a foolproof, quick recipe,  here it is.  You can use any of the prepared dough's I mentioned .  Frozen bread dough will work as well.   The technique is the same for all.  The best part you are only limited by your imagination for the fillings.  




At room temperature roll out the dough into a thin square.  Spread (soften) butter over the entire surface.  Sprinkle mini semi chocolate morsels, chopped nuts and granulated sugar.





Start rolling the dough at one end until you reach the center. 


Follow up by rolling the  opposite side until they meet up together.




Slice and gently shape the bottom into a point to form the  heart.
Refrigerate for 20 mins until chilled firm.




Bake at 325 for 12-14 mins until golden brown around the edges.

Cool and dust lightly with powder sugar.  
I used an assortment of containers to pack up my chocolate hearts.  I adore these Red and white polka dot  oversize mugs!   Trimmed with a vintage hearts and Cupid  Valentine tag and dot ribbon to match.





 Another favorite....tin mailboxes.
I took an inexpensive tin mailbox and covered it with a textured foiled paper.
For an added touch I  created a pedestal by gluing a glass candlestick to the bottom of the mailbox.  




The chocolate hearts fit perfectly in my mailbox.



The flag is up...for a special Valentine delivery!


(Google Image)

Sara's Sweet Surprise wishes you a
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Menu Monday



Our Christmas holiday extended well after the new year. While others were packing away all their Christmas decor, we were still entertaining family and friends.  We were feeling the pressure to immediately get every ornament and twinkly light packed away.  That was until...we headed out to run a few errands.  We always take the backroads as to avoid the traffic and freeways.   We wind up traveling through several neighborhoods.  To my delight, not only did I see several homes with remnants of Christmas lights on and decorations hung, I also saw a few homes with lite trees (in their living rooms) all adorned.  It made me realize the holiday cheer still resonated within their homes.  They wanted to hold on to that joy just a little longer.  So why was I in such a hurry to chase away that ambiance from my  own home.  We took our time and before we knew it, our Christmas decorations were all tucked away.
When entertaining it takes a few short cuts to aid in bringing a large selection of meals to the table.  You know how I'm a firm believer in creating easy recipes with a presentation that looks like you had been creating each plate along side Martha Stewart.


YOGURT PARFAIT
This is a bit of a tweak from the recipe I had been using.  It's been a constant crowd pleaser.  Which makes it to my go-to list.
Yes, I've got a recipe list for those easy five star recipes requested the most.
And believe me at the holidays those recipe cards are left with skid marks by their many uses!

What switches this up is the combination of fresh fruits and one unexpected ingredient, 
small curd cottage cheese.  I know what you're thinking but it's surprisingly delightful!


Combine equal parts of the following: 
In a tall glass layer fresh fruits with the yogurt mixture along with layers of granola.
Topping off with the fresh fruits.





I include side bowls of nuts and whipped cream. 
I've tried various flavors of yogurts but I've found they overpowered the fresh fruits, where the vanilla marries well with all.





SPICY SHRIMP BLACK BEAN RICE


Most if not all my main entrees can be served for either lunch or dinner. 
I really do try to include a few fresh elements in each recipe and when time permits everything is fresh from scratch.



 Combine and marinate the following:
Jumbo cooked shrimp (tales off), olive oil, taco season, minced garlic, minced onion  and or

Refrigerate at least 25 mins.
Meanwhile prepare a box of...


Stir in one can of drained black beans into the cooked rice.

Pour the shrimp contents into  a skillet. Cooking on a medium heat, making sure all the ingredients are simmered. 



Lay a bed of
rice and beans, shrimp, salsa, sour cream.


Monday, January 25, 2016

A new look for the New Year

I for one can always benefit from adding a new technique to my makeup routine. In my youth I developed a passion for makeup and fashion, which came naturally living in Southern California. Where my ventures were frequent in Hollywood. Which you can read about on my previous post "Thanks For The Memories." Once you've been dusted by the fairies of fashion and makeup...forever it will be in your soul! With the onset of 2016...I will be posting my passions for fashion and makeup styles that have caught my attention. Along with hints and tricks from my favorite products. I'll be back with Menu Monday and a Valentine DIY. Hope to see you there!

Gorgeous! beautykale eye tutorial using 3D www.LillyLashes.com in style "Miami". #GhalichiGlam

Posted by Lilly Ghalichi on Saturday, January 23, 2016