Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Squash Blossom Frittata !


Hello again ! I have been away from writing this blog for a long time...one reason being that my daughter Ashley got married to her hubby Terrence in Italy ! It took me months to plan my three week trip to France and Switzerland, and then to find my mother-of-the-bride outfit. I had a very blessed trip and the wedding festivities were beautiful !
   I found an easy recipe called Squash Blossom Frittata, by Jack Bishop, in his cookbook called "A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen". Here is Jack's recipe, with a few little additions of my own. We are now ending summer and will soon be buying fall vegetables and fruit in California. Zuchini squash are still being sold, but I'm not sure about zucchini flowers. If you can't find these flowers now, perhaps you could use another edible flower or some beautiful herbs. Use the squash blossoms the day you buy them, otherwise they get mushy ! Yuk !!

Squash Blossom Frittata

8 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus several small clusters of  thyme flowers (or other edible flowers) (I doubled this amount.)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I doubled this amount.)
Freshly ground black pepper
8 large squash blossoms
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil (or 2 teaspoons)
(I added goat cheese, about 1/2 cup)

1.With a fork,beat the eggs, cheese, thyme, salt, and several grindings of pepper together in a medium bowl until well combined.

2. Rince the squash blossoms and inspect them for insects, shaking the blossoms to remove the insects and excess water. Pat the blossoms dry on paper towels. Trim and discard the green stem and tough bottom portion from each blossom, including the pistil inside the blossom. Cut each blossom in half lengthwise.

3. Move an oven rack to the top position and heat the broiler. Heat the oil in a medium ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, swirl the pan to coat the oil to coat the pan bottom evenly. add the egg mixture and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook just until the bottom of the frittata starts to set, about 2 minutes. Arrange the squash blossoms in a starburst pattern on the eggs, with the frilly leaves pointing toward the edge of the pan. Overlap the blossoms to cover the entire top surface of the frittata. (I also dropped bits of goat cheese in the frittata and on top.)  Continue to cook the frittata, occasionally sliding a spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the frittata, until the bottom of the frittata is golden brown and the eggs are runny just on top, about 8 minutes.

4. Place the pan directly under the broiler and broil until the top is golden brown and set, 1 to 2 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent the frittata from burning.

5. Remove the pan from the broiler. Cut the frittata into wedges and serve or slide it onto a large platter and take it to the table whole. The frittata can also be cooled in the pan and then served at room temperature. (I sprinkled the sage blossoms on top for beauty.)
   Enjoy this frittata alone, with your spouse, or your company. Some salsa might be good on the side too ! Bon appetite and God bless you my friends !


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Honey Apricot Crepes !

   Summer is over with its over- abundance of scrumptious fruit that I love, but that doesn't stop me from thinking about apricot crepes, especially since my good friend Sharon just got back from France, where she enjoyed eating yummy crepes ! Sharon asked me for my crepe recipe, so that is motivating me to write about crepes today !
   Since apricots are out of season now, the filling could be made with apples, or fresh or frozen berries or other fruit.
   When my daughters were little, we lived in a house that had a swimming pool and a wonderful, large apricot tree that usually was filled with juicy fruit ! We would go swimming and then grab a few apricots to snack on, the sweet sticky juice running down our hands and faces.              

My three daughters would have friends sleep over now and then, and sometimes I would make apricot crepes for their breakfast.  My daughter Ashley's good friend Allison went home and told her parents that she had  had apricot crepes at our house. Her parents said,"We want some apricot crepes too !" Ha ha, so I made some for them
, which Allison carried over for them !
   In my cooking, I like to use honey or another healthier sweetener instead of refined sugar if possible, so the apricot filling is sweetened with raw honey. These crepes also have a little whole wheat flour in the batter, so hopefully they are a little healthier than having been made with only refined white flour. If desired, crepes can be made in advance and frozen.

                                                          Honey Apricot Crepes

3/4 cup (4 oz/125 g) all purpose (plain) flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups (12 fl oz/ 475 ml) whole milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 egg
1 teaspoon Marc de Bourgogne or other brandy or vanilla
1 teaspoon olive oil, light or virgin
1/4 teaspoon salt
butter for frying
powdered (icing) sugar for dusting
1/2 stick butter
4 cups pitted apricots, whole or cut in halves
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon salt

   Turn your oven to 200 degrees for 5 minutes and then turn it off, so the oven is warm. Place a plate inside to hold the finished crepes, and plates you'll use for your guests.
   Put the flour in a medium sized bowl. Break the egg in the center and add the 1/4 teaspoon of salt. With a wire whisk slowly mix in the milk, the brandy or vanilla, and lastly the olive oil. It is best to let the batter rest for a few hours, covered, in a cool place. I don't do this because I want to eat my crepes as soon as possible !
   Melt about 1- 2 teaspoons of butter in an 8-inch (20-cm) skillet, letting it spread evenly over the bottom. When the skillet is hot, pour in about half of a small ladle of the batter, tilting so the mixture spreads evenly to cover the bottom. (A hot skillet will make the crepes look lacey and give them crispy edges !) Let the crepe turn golden brown and in about 40 seconds, turn it over with a spatula and cook for about 30 seconds more. Turn the crepe out and place it on the warm plate in the oven.
   Crepes made in advance, can be placed on a plate and reheated over gently boiling water.


   Wash and take the pits out of the apricots. Cut them in half or leave them whole. In a medium saucepan, on medium-low heat, place the butter, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and apricots. Cook the apricots for about 20 minutes until the apricots are soft but not mushy. Taste the filling to see if it needs more honey or spices.  Put 1-2 tablespoons of the filling inside a crepe and roll it up. Place the crepe on a warm plate seam side down, and put some of the filling on top and add some whipped cream if desired.

   Variations...In a small saucepan, dilute the jam of your choice, and add a spoonful of cold water. Bring it to a boil, then remove from the heat. Pour this sauce over the folded crepes and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
   Or...Roll the crepes up and put a tablespoon of fromage blanc, cream cheese, or creme fraiche in the middle. Place the crepes on a serving platter and pour a thick, smooth puree of blackcurrents or other fruit on top.
   Crepes are also good with chocolate syrup, bananas, and strawberries !
   You also could try making the crepes using half white flour and half whole wheat flour.
   So treat yourself once in awhile to these yummy crepes ! Awwww...Thank you dear Lord for apricots and all the beautiful fruit you give us !!
   This recipe was adapted from "France A Culinary Journey" produced by Weldon Owen Pty Limited.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Escape Time !

Well, it was that time again....time when I needed to recharge my soul....I think some people recharge by being around people...and others like me get refueled by being alone in a quiet, serene place. Soooo, after enough busyness for a period of time, I knew that I had to get on my trusty computer and search for a place to escape to, to unruffle my feathers. After a search on VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner), I discovered a couple of photos that made me go ahhhhhh......a photo of a soft, fluffy white bed and another picture of a deep white tub with trees in the windows behind it. How bad could that be ??!

Sold !  So I booked the home with the owner, a sweet, lovely woman who is from Eastern Europe. This home is located on a hill in Carmel Valley, California, with a view of the soft, green hills across the valley. I arrived at night, so it was a bit of a challenge to find the house, but the kind hostess guided me over the phone as I climbed the hill in my car.  She showed me all the rooms, light switches, the coffee maker, utensils, and dishes in the kitchen, etc.

   The next morning, I woke up to soft sunlight flowing through the windows of an incredibly peaceful, romantic bedroom. I loooove the dreamy white, cream, and beige colors of the bed, walls, fireplace, tile, and curtains. It just sort of felt like waking up in Heaven....

   So I went upstairs and made myself some luscious coffee, and a bowl of yogurt with Whole Foods Market Bakery Granola (which is fabulous !), blueberries and mango. I was so excited to crawl back into that fluffy white bed, and enjoy my warm, aromatic coffee and tasty
breakfast as I looked out the window at the green hills, listening to the bird songs coming through the open French doors, and feeling the gentle breezes blowing on me. The warmth of the flames in the fireplace were a sweet touch as well. Every bedroom should have a fireplace in it, right !!
   I also took some time to spend with Yeshua/Jesus, reading my Bible, and afterwards looking through a new French cookbook that I had brought. I always like to bring a new book or two and a few magazines to read when I go on my escapes !
   The house has a couple more bedrooms, a roomy living room, and two outdoor decks. I had my lunch on the upstairs deck that is outside one of the bedrooms. It was all very rustic, with that foothills/moutainous vibe...just a great place to get away for some soul restoration....
   And extra treat on my trip was to spend some time with my daughter Courtney ! We had a super delicious lunch at Cafe Sparrow in Aptos and then we scavenged through three of Courtney's favorite  antique/vintage stores that were across the street. She found a few lovely quilts and a big pot for her garden . It's always a fun adventure when I spend time with each of my three daughters because they take me to places I've never been ! I'm so very happy that G-d blessed me with three wonderful daughters....and now a son Jeff, as my daughter Brittany got married not long ago !
   If you're needing a little get-away....check out VRBO.com, airbnb.com,  go camping, have a stay-cation at home with all your electronics turned off, spend half a day at a park, go to the beach, get a baby-sitter,have coffee or tea at a cozy coffee house and read a good book, or just do what gives you peace and calm......find a place that tugs on your heart and run away !!! Bon voyage !

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Whole Grain Waffles that Taste like Mounds Bars !

   Hi ! Are you a waffle lover like me ?! My brothers and I grew up eating the waffles and pancakes  that our dad made for us, especially on early mornings before heading up to the mountains, an hour and a half  away, to go skiing ! These days Dad makes Swedish pancakes more often, with the perfect recipe he has found, and oh they are delectable ! But to get back to the subject of waffles, I decided that I wanted a recipe that was healthy and and enjoyable to eat ! So this recipe combines whole graines, olive oil, and honey, or raw sugar.

   One day I decided to put chocolate chips, shaved coconut, and warmed maple syrup on my waffle. Ooooh my...that was the bomb, as the young people say ! The hot off the press waffle and the warm syrup melted the chocolate chips, made them ooey and gooey. The chocolate mixed with the shaved coconut reminded me of eating a Mounds Bar, one of my favorite candy bars !
My waffle recipe has whole wheat flour, oats, and cinnamon in it. You could substitute ground flax seed for the oats, and buckwheat flour for the whole wheat flour. If you don't want to add cinnamon, you could add ground nutmeg or perhaps allspice, or just leave the spices out.
                                                            Whole Grain Waffles
   1 cup whole wheat flour
   1/2 cup all purpose flour (or cake flour)
   1/2 cup oats (or ground flax seed, or bran)
   2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder (without aluminum)
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   2 teaspoons cinnamon (or nutmeg, or a teaspoon of allspice)

   1 tablespoon raw sugar (or honey) (Leave the sweetener out if using the waffles with a savory recipe.)
   3 eggs
   7 tablespoons olive oil (or melted butter)
   1 1/2 cups milk (or buttermilk)
   2 teaspoons vanilla
   100 % maple syrup


   Mix the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. In another mixing bowl, beat the eggs well and stir in the oil, the milk, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the liquid ingredients and stir altogether until blended, with a pebbled look, like a muffin batter. Don't over mix. Put about 1/3-1/2 cup of the batter into the waffle iron and cook until the waffles are done according to your waffle maker.
   Pour warmed syrup over the waffle and sprinkle on top fresh fruit or berries, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, pureed dried fruit or raisins, shredded sharp cheese, butter, or chopped nuts. (I buy Lily's Chocolate Chips sweetened with stevia, at Whole Foods Market.) Some people eat their waffles with chicken, which I have yet to do !!



Monday, January 9, 2017

Our Family Thanksgiving and a Honey Cranberry Sauce Recipe !


 Have you had your turn roasting a Thanksgiving turkey...or are you going to take the challenge any other time of the year !!??  Well, last year I waited until three days before Thanksgiving and I had to go to a couple of stores before I found an organic turkey. This year I decided to buy one sooner than that, so I became the turkey roaster this year ! I'd never tried brining poultry before, and after hearing chefs on cooking shows say how tender the meat becomes, I thought why not, I'll try it ! It's actually not scary or hard at all. It's just a matter of combining in a big pot, water, salt, sugar, fruit juice, spices, herbs and putting your bird in there overnight ! "How to Brine a Turkey"from the kitchn.com looks pretty easy, if you want to try it !

I also tried Chef Jeffrey Zakarian's Turkey Wet Rub recipe on foodnetwork.com,  for roasting the turkey, because it looked easy and had ingredients that I love, like tarragon, honey, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice ! 
  Some of our family celebrated at my brother Brett and sister-in-law Laura's house. We missed our family members who couldn't make it this time. My mother  Sonje made delicious cinnamon, brown sugar yams. Laura made the yummy  Apple Walnut Cranberry Salad that you can find on Pinterest. It has gorgonzola cheese in it....oh yeah ! She also made two scrumptious cranberry sauces, one was flavored with orange and one was traditional. I made mashed potatoes with roasted garlic in them. Now my mouth is watering !

  My nieces Tessa and Tatum, nephew Jared, and my brother Chris were there too.  Chris "cooked" two Marie Callender's pies; a sugarless raspberry and a pumpkin one that we had with vanilla ice-cream ! We had a lovely, intimate time, enjoying each other's company and giving thanks to G-d for His blessings on us in 2016. I'm so happy that we have this unique, special Holiday in our country each year to pause, reflect, and give thanks.
                                                            Turkey Wet Rub

Preparation Time: 5 min
Yield: Enough to coat a 12-14-pound turkey
Level: Easy


1 cup mayonnaise, such as Hellman's
1 cup fresh tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

                                                         Directions for the Rub

   In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, tarragon, honey, mustard, lemon zest and juice; season with salt and pepper. Rub the mayonnaise mixture all over the 12-14-pound turkey before roasting. I would add to rub this mixture under the skin, where possible  as well.

  I followed the directions called "How to Cook a Turkey : The Simplest, Easiest Method" by Emma Christiansen, on thekitchn.com.  Maybe you'd like to follow her directions too ! ( The truth is, I was going to type the directions, but when  saw that they were about  10-15 paragraphs long,  (And I type with 2 fingers !) I decided that  hopefully,  you wouldn't mind looking it up yourself ! But seriously, don't freak out ! It has been said that cooking a turkey is like cooking a big chicken !

   P.S. In past years, I have made cranberry sauce with honey....so here is a recipe for you !

                                                          Honey Cranberry Sauce

   1-12oz. bag fresh or frozen cranberries
   1 cup honey
   1 strip orange zest
   1 cinnamon stick ground cinnamon stick
   1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
   1 whole clove nutmeg
      (You can also use 1/4 teaspoon of each powdered spice instead.)


   Pour the cranberries into a medium saucepan. Add the honey and the strip of orange zest or peel. Grind the cinnamon stick, whole cloves, and whole nutmeg in a clean coffee grinder.  Cook the cranberries and honey over  medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer the cranberries until they burst and until the the mixture has a saucy consistency. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of the freely ground or powdered spices. Taste the sauce  to see if it needs more honey or spices. Remove the pan from the heat and let the sauce cool.

P. S. I decorated the turkey with citrus branches from my trees, fresh sage and rosemary sprigs, tangerines, apples, a pear, pomegranate, and some persimmons.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Daughter's of Simone Goes to New York Bridal Week !!

   I had the wonderful  and exciting experience of going to New York City during Bridal Week, to attend a runway show that two of my daughters, Brittany and Ashley, were involved in, with their wedding dresses !!  As I look back, to how the seeds began of their wedding dress business, I remember the fun that my three daughters had as children putting on fashion shows, after we had  bought new clothes for school or summer. Ashley recently told me that she used to go hide in a corner in our house, and look at my Vogue magazines, after I had torn out the less modest photographs ! Their company is called Daughters of Simone, which specializes in romantic, bohemian looks. The show was put on by One Fine Day, a wedding fair group from Australia, a very kind and helpful group of people. Several of them asked me if I was Simone, to which I had to say 'no, that's the name of a  French author.' There were eight other designers from countries around the world participating as well.

   My daughters invited me to come early to do a little hand sewing on a dress that was going to be hanging in their display room, and when I walked into the venue, it was like walking into a beautiful soft white dream. All the walls were painted snowy  white, with vintage white furniture, and dreamy, beautiful, mostly white dresses hanging on white racks.  You could see cool architectural views of New York City through the windows which added  a soft glowing light, perfect for those of us taking photographs. Was this real or a dream !!?
   A separate floor where the runway was located, had white floors, white walls, rows of white chairs, and a large paned window with a  multitude of creamy white candles of various heights in front of it. This array of lit candles proved to highlight the  anticipation and drama of the models entering the runway ! My girl's father and I were surprised and  blessed to be given front row seats.

    The models walked out to an assortment of  hip music choices and it was interesting to see the varied styles and fabrics from beaded, to chiffon, to lace, and more.  After each group of models walked the runway, most of the designers came out and waved to the crowd, to the applause of the audience. My daughters decided to follow their models and walk the whole runway, celebrating the culmination of their hard work and accomplishment ! Those of us family and friends who were there clapped and cheered...rather loudly  I'd say !
   I think back in time of being a fifteen year old, when my fellow classmates and I had to write papers on the careers  that we envisioned for ourselves in the future. I wrote about my dream to be involved in the fashion industry....so I became an artist and a teacher instead, ha ha ! I didn't have a clue as to how to break into the business, but I guess that G-d didn't forget my dream though, as now I get to live it through my daughters ! Well, I'll be....life is full of so many unexpected  surprises and blessings ! Thank you Brittany and Ashley for giving me such joy as I watch you living out your dreams and helping to give brides such happiness, wearing your beautiful dresses on their wedding days ! Yahooeeee !!! Aaaannnnd check out daughtresofsimone.com everyone !!