Sunday, February 27, 2011

Our Chimney is Back Up on the Roof!


If you recall,

the week of Thanksgiving

our chimney blew off the roof

during a storm.







This was a sorry sight.


Unfortunately,

given the frequent snowstorms this winter,

our contractor was unable to replace the chimney until

a couple of weeks ago.










In mid February the weather finally broke

and the men from Koontz Construction

began work.


They had found that the old chimney was not sealed

properly and there was water damage.


Thus, the first job was to replace the damaged roofing.


They cleared out the old chimney and salvaged

the undamaged vinyl siding.





The new chimney flue is ready for installation.




More chimney parts.





It's coming together.














Day three and the siding is going on.








This old chair didn't survive the chimney

falling on it.

Fortunately, I had removed the table

earlier in the fall as we were using it

for tailgating or it too would have been

destroyed.







The workers have gone and have cleaned up their mess.










And the chimney is back where it belongs.

At last.


Thanks, Josh and crew!





It's beautiful, and I'm sure your men put it on

better than it was on before.



Friday, February 18, 2011

The Foodie Girls Enter the Dessert Wars




Fellow food blogger and Internet friend Rosie Hawthorne


told me about a new blog and monthly dessert contest.




She entered the first month with this delicious looking


dessert, but didn't win.




Rosie graciously encouraged me to try my hand at


this contest.




But as I am not a baker,


I turned to the Foodie Daughter for help.




With my creativity and photographic skills and


her artistry with baking,


we thought we would give it a shot.







Dessert Wars


This month's theme is Dark Chocolate and Hearts,
each dessert must include Dark Chocolate
and have a Heart somewhere in the presentation.



The winner for the month's competition gets a nice assortment of prizes.
The prizes for this month include:




The Smartshopper Electronic Grocery List Organizer


Beanilla Sampler Pack of Vanilla Beans


Lenox Personalized Musical Cupcake


1,000 ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes


Endless Vanilla and Cinnamon Extract


Unlimited Layers: A Recipe for Turning Your Passion into Profits


Organic Valley $50 Gift Certificate


Organic Prairie $50 Gift Certificate


Theme Kitchen $50 Gift Certificate


BEKA Cookware Crepe Pan







And this is our entry for February's


dark chocolate and hearts.




May I present the Dark Chocolate and Cheesecake


Sweetheart Delight?









First we start off with the sweet candy delight.




And yes, we will be making our own candy heart.




Why not?




Our ingredients are simple:


1/3 cup white corn syrup


1 cup sugar


2 tablespoons water


1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract


1/2 teaspoon red food coloring




And don't forget a candy or digital thermometer.



The corn syrup, sugar and water are heating in a


small pan over high heat.


This will continue to cook until the thermometer reaches


300 degrees Fahrenheit.




Never stir as sugar crystals can form.




Gently swirl the pan if needed.




Once the mixture has reached 300 degrees
the flavoring and food coloring are added


after the pan is taken off the heat.




At this point the mixture can be stirred.




I poured the mixture into metal heart forms


(cookie cutters) that were placed on a silicon pad.




I then placed cans on top to weigh down the forms


until the candy had set.






After several minutes I gently pried the cooled candies


out of the forms.





Now on to the main event.





Here we stole shamelessly from fellow blogger,


Rosie Hawthorne.





This is based off her recipe for The Best Cheesecake.





We have halved the recipe and for this challenge


have swapped out the Graham cracker crust


with a dark chocolate crust


as well as eliminated the lemon zest and lemon juice


from the recipe.

The Best Cheesecake



Crust:
Process in food processor:
2-1/4 cup chocolate Graham crackers



plus 2 tablespoons pure cocoa powder


¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 stick butter, melted




Press evenly into bottom and sides of 10-inch spring form pan

Filling:
1 8oz. Package cream cheese, softened
1 cup cottage cheese
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons flour
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
½ stick (4 tablespoons) melted butter, cooled
1 cup sour cream

Process each ingredient in a food processor,


adding one at a time and scraping sides with a spatula.
Pour filling into 10-inch spring form pan with prepared crust.
Bake at 325 degrees for 70 minutes (1 hr., 10 min.)


until firm around the edges.
Turn off oven.
Let stand in oven for 2 hours.
Remove and cool completely before glazing or topping.




The chocolate Graham crackers are processed with


the cocoa powder, brown sugar and melted butter.







The crust is pressed into the spring form pan.








The cheesecake ingredients were started out in the


food processor so that the cottage cheese ends up


smooth and creamy.





Unfortunately, our food processor is too small to


process the entire batch, so we had to switch


to a bowl and a hand mixer.










The cheesecake mixture was poured into the pan.





This went into a 325 degree oven for 70 minutes.





Be sure to place a sheet pan under the spring form pan


to guard against leakage.

Remember to turn off oven and leave the cheesecake


in the oven for another 2 hours.









Ready for the oven.











And now on to the ganache.





4 ounces of dark chocolate


1/4 cup heavy cream





Heat the cream in the microwave for about a minute


and then melting the chocolate in the cream.







Cut a couple of heart shapes in the end slices of strawberries


and we have our


Dark Chocolate and Cheesecake Sweetheart Delight.
Many thanks to the Foodie Daughter for her
baking expertise
and to Rosie Hawthorne
for her delicious cheesecake recipe.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spaghetti Pie




Or what to do when your loving spouse brings


home over six pounds of cooked spaghetti.


And just what was I supposed to do with all that spaghetti?


Hmm... the Foodie will have to think on that.


I know; I can use at least a pound of it in a

spaghetti pie.


So let's start with that.












I gathered some likely ingredients:

the aforementioned cooked pasta,

one hamburger patty,

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese,

sour cream (not used in the end),

Mozzarella cheese,

a scallion,

a garlic clove,

one egg,

Herbes de Provence,

black pepper,

salt

and a can of tomato sauce.


Not shown:

brown sugar.



I cooked and crumbled the hamburger patty.

That poor patty had been lonely in the freezer.


I then chopped the white of the scallion and then added

another 2 tablespoons of chopped white onion to the pan

and sauteed that for a bit.


Then I added in about 1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence

and the grated clove of garlic before

pouring in the can of tomato sauce.


I ground in about 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

and then added kosher salt and brown sugar to taste.


I can't tell you how much to add.

Only you know how much salt and sugar you and your

family like in your tomato sauce.



I let this mixture simmer while I worked on the

pasta crust of the pie.



In a bowl I put the pasta and about 1/4 cup grated

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and the egg.


I mixed that up and then pressed the pasta into

an oiled 9-inch pie pan.


In hind sight I might have revived the pasta by

dropping it in boiling water for a moment

so that it would have been easier to work with.


However, the pasta was already long past the

al dente stage and I was afraid it would have

simply disintegrated if added to water.




I then grated some more Parmigiano Reggiano and

Mozzarella cheeses in the center of the pie before

adding the sauce.


Then more cheeses were added along with the diced

green onion.


This baked in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.





I let it cool for a few minutes before serving.






Serve with some of the garlic bread my husband also brought home.

This was a nice change of pace.



Now I just have to figure out what to do with five and a half pounds

of cooked pasta that is sitting in my freezer.




Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hoisin Ham 'n' Cheese Sandwich


The Foodie Daughter likes to DVR

Aarti Sequeira's show on Food Network,

Aarti Party.


Aarti recently demonstrated this sandwich

and the Foodie Daughter and I decided that we

wanted to try it.





The ingredients are:

pepper jack cheese

hoisin sauce

sesame oil

scallion

black pepper

ham

apple

mayonnaise

and wheat bread.
I don't like cilantro, so I left that out of the recipe.


I also substituted wheat bread for the rye bread

and a red apple for the green apple.




The cheese, scallion, hoisin sauce and black pepper were

mixed together.





After spreading mayonnaise on one side of the bread,

I spread a thin layer of the cheese mixture on each

slice.






Then some ham and apple slices went on top.


Another ham slice and the rest of the cheese mixture

finished off the sandwich.


I followed directions, covering with the other slice of bread

and weighing down with a skillet.


Before flipping over,

I spread mayonnaise on the top slice of bread.


Finish cooking until lightly browned on both sides.




This was a nice change of pace from the usual

grilled cheese sandwich.


I noted from the reviews on FN's web site that

some people objected to the hoisin sauce.

To be sure, the hoisin sauce does make its presence known.

It imparts a salty bite and leaves a spicy after taste.


It certainly will help to clear out those sinuses.

We would make this again, but we might add just a bit more

cheese the next time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Lovely Winter Sunset


I looked out my back windows this evening

to see the sky lit with colors as the sun

sank below the horizon.

























It was a lovely but cold day.


And it was a delightful sunset.


Good evening, all.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Enough Already!


More snow in the forecast?


Say it isn't so.







The Foodie Daughter saw some damage on her way to


classes on Thursday.







Thursday evening we looked out and saw a herd of


deer in our backyard.











At one point we counted nine deer.








While out running errands on Friday,


the Foodie Daughter and I found where


the out-of-state utility trucks were congregated.














Guess the parking lot of the former Wal Mart comes in handy

after all.



And yes,


I guess it is so.




We woke up Saturday morning to more snow.









Sigh.





And the chimney is still on the ground.






It's a wet, sticky snow.





















They are calling for two to four inches of snow to fall
today.




























Snow and ice.


Lovely.






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