Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

May 6, 2015

Mother's Day ~ from Brunch to Cocktail Hour




Mother's Day!  For ideas from brunch time to cocktail hour, these recipes will cover the entire day.

Gather your little kitchen helpers and recreate the perfect dish with several delicious (and easy) recipes to choose from, provided byCarrington Farms, Colman’s MustardGaeaand Sparkling Ice.




Carrington Farms: Apple Flaxseed Muffins

Ingredients:
•                     11/4 cup Carrington Farms milled flaxseed
•                     2 teaspoons baking powder
•                     1 tablespoon cinnamon
•                     1 teaspoon nutmeg
•                     1/2 teaspoon salt
•                     3/4 cup granulated sugar
•                     4 large eggs
•                     1/4 cup canola oil
•                     1/2 cup water
•                     1 tablespoon vanilla extract
•                     1 medium apple, finely chopped
•                     1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 12-muffin tin.

  1. Mix first 6 ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients.

  1. Let batter stand 10 minutes, then put into the muffin pan and bake for about 16 to 18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean and muffins just barely start to pull away from the sides of the tin.

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Yield: 12 servings


Colman’s Mustard: Coconut-Almond Shrimp with Marmalade-Mustard Dipping Sauce
Serves: 8

Dipping Sauce ingredients
•        1 cup orange marmalade 
•        3 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
•        2 tbsp. Colman’s Original Prepared Mustard
•        2 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
•        1 tsp. curry powder

Coconut Shrimp ingredients
•        1 (7-ounce) bag sweetened flaked coconut
•        1 ½  cups almond meal (or almond flour)
•        2 large eggs, lightly beaten
•        1 tbsp. Colman’s Original Prepared Mustard
•        1/2 teaspoon salt
•        1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied, tails left on (40 – 45 count)
•        Vegetable oil for frying
•        Bamboo skewers

Preparation
  1. To make the dipping sauce, whisk together the marmalade, vinegar, mustard, ginger, and curry powder in a small bowl; set aside.  
  2. To make the shrimp, pulse the coconut in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a pie plate with the almond meal. Whisk together the eggs, Colman’s Original Prepared Mustard, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the shrimp to the egg mixture, tossing to coat. Lift the shrimp, a few pieces at a time, from the egg mixture, letting the excess dip off the shrimp, then coat in the coconut mixture, pressing to adhere.
  3. Heat 3-inches of oil in a heavy 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until the temperature reaches 375°F on a deep-fat thermometer (or heat oil in a deep-fat fryer set at 370°F.).
  4. Working in batches, drop the shrimp into the oil. Cook, turning occasionally, until the shrimp are golden brown, 2 – 3 minutes per batch. Thread onto bamboo skewers. Transfer to a platter, Serve with the dipping sauce. 


Gaea: Arugula Salad

preparation time 20 minutes
• 6-8 servings

1 bunch arugula stems cut off and discarded, leaves coarsely chopped
1 medium red onion, halved and sliced
10 Gaea sundried tomatoes, halved
8 thin rounds of salami Lefkadas or any other peppery salami, trimmed and halved
10 Gaea Green Halkidiki olives whole or pitted

For the dressing
1/3 cup Gaea DOP Sitia, Crete extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Greek thyme or mountain honey
1 Tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Wash and spin the arugula dry in a salad spinner. Place in a medium serving bowl. Place the onion on top, then the sun dried tomatoes. Place the salami halves decoratively around the salad. Top with the olives. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper. Dress and mix the salad and serve immediately.


Sparkling Ice: Grapefruit Jalapeno Martini

Ingredients
  • 3 oz.  Grapefruit Sparkling ICE
  • 1 ½ oz.  vodka
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • Lime wedge
  • Sliced fresh jalapeño
  • Chili salt for rim of glass (Kosher salt mixed with chili powder)

Directions
  1. Use a lime wedge to rub the entire rim of a chilled martini glass, and dip into chili salt mixture. 
  2. Combine vodka and jalapeno slices with ice in a shaker.
  3. Strain and pour into the chilled martini glass.
  4. Top with Grapefruit Sparkling ICE. 
  5. Garnish with a few Jalapeno slices. 
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April 30, 2015

Cinco De Mayo Recipe Roundup

Oh boy....Cinco De Mayo rates right up there as one of my favorite eating holidays of all time.  I can eat Mexican food almost every day of the week.

Here are a few of my favorites......


This black bean dip is actually very healthy for us, it's just the chips we need to watch out for.  This is a great, easy recipe to whip up for backyard barbecues and parties as well.  I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

Healthy Black Bean Dip

 


Ingredients you'll need (list below)

Mash up the black beans to where they are still chunky.
Ingredients
1 can black beans
1 tsp. oil
½ cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup diced tomatoes (I use onion & garlic canned diced tomatoes)
1/3 cup salsa
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp chili powder
¼ cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1T fresh lime juice

DirectionsMash beans in bowl until chunky. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté for 4 minutes. Add beans, diced tomatoes, salsa, cumin, chili powder and cook for 5 minutes or until thick. Stir and remove from heat. Add cheese, cilantro and lime juice. Stir well.

Serve warm or at room temp.





EASY Guacamole
I used to buy pre-made guacamole as we have many varieties available here in California, until my friend, Heather, turned me on to a super delicious and extremely easy way to whip up a batch in no time flat.




All you need is guacamole seasoning package, I use McCormick's, and two California avocados.  I normally add some lime juice and some chopped red onion to taste as well.





Slice two ripened avocados, add the contents of the guacamole seasoning packet and mix.  Squeeze in some lime juice and chopped red onion and or chopped tomatoes, if desired.  Mix until all ingredients are combined.




Refrigerate and eat for lunch... or any time of day.






Baked Nachos.

It's like a hearty one dish meal you can throw together within 10 minutes!   Perfect with any beverage....margaritas, beer, sangria, MILK, Yum.







I began layering; chips, cheese, yellow and orange bell peppers, onions, ground beef and black beans.






A high protein meal, the entire family could devour.















Add a little salsa and or guacamole and sour cream.....perfect.

Here's what you need for success:

Ingredients:
Tortilla chips or pita chips
cheese of choice, I used low fat mozzarella, grated
1 pound of ground beef
taco seasoning
1 can of black beans
bell peppers
1 small red onion
tomatoes, chopped if you have them
and any other topping you feel like chopping up and adding
Salsa
Sour Cream

Directions:
Place ground beef in a skillet and brown.  Add taco seasoning to taste and cook a little longer.  Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place the tortilla chips on the foil.  Sprinkle grated cheese on top of chips, layer with bell pepper, red onion, browned ground beef and black beans.

Place in oven on broil for 4-5 minutes.  Just long enough so the cheese is good and melted.
Serve with salsa, sour cream or guacamole if desired.






Chobani Greek Guacamole
This recipe for Chobani Greek Yogurt guacamole has been such a hit in my house.

This Chobani guacamole recipe is SO tasty and includes Chobani Greek Yogurt to lighten up the calories.
















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April 2, 2015

Grown-Up Easter Basket Ideas

Wouldn't it be so much fun to recieve a grown-up Easter basket on Sunday?!!  This would make a GREAT hostess gift or a fantastic gift to your loved one.  Here are a few suggestions for creating your own grown-up basket....

***

The days of egg hunts may be gone, but that doesn’t mean you have to outgrow every Easter tradition you looked forward to as a child. With the right goodies, Easter baskets can be just as enjoyable as an adult to dig into on Sunday morning. Here are some tasty ways to give your Easter basket a gourmet touch this spring season.

·      Divine Pastries: French-inspired dessert line Donsuemor introduced its Petit Gateau Meyer Lemon springtime flavor to local Bay Area Costco stores last month—making for the perfect Easter treat!

·      Decadent Springtime Teas: Enjoy a cup of spring with Davidson’s Organic’s Spring Cup and SpringFruit and Flowers loose leaf teas. These lovely fragrant teas are sure to make your basket all the more seasonal.


·      Napa Valley White Wine: For wine lovers, Whitehall Lane Winery’s 2013 Sauvignon Blanc is a fan favorite. Its crisp and refreshing flavor profile is perfect to enjoy on a warm breezy afternoon.
 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley


·      Nature’s Sugar Rush: Looking for something sweet to snack on without all the guilt? Popular snack food line Nature’s Bakery makes some great seasonal fruit flavors for spring. Finding a delicious peach apricotmango, or strawberry fig bar in your Easter basket is sure to put an extra hop in your step!
Peach Apricot all natural fig bars
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April 1, 2015

Perfect Boiled Eggs {Recipe}

Easter's right around the corner and it's time to boil those eggs!  I don't know about you, but when I used to boil eggs, they would crack and the inside would have that ugly greenish rim around it. And I never knew exactly how long to cook them. 

I have been using this method for a few years and it works every time.....the perfect boiled eggs....







1. PLACE eggs in a pot with one inch of water covering the tops of them.  Cook on medium high heat and wait until water has just begun to boil.

2. REMOVE from burner. COVER pan. LET EGGS STAND in hot water about 15 minutes for large eggs (12 minutes for medium eggs; 18 minutes for extra large).


3. DRAIN immediately and serve. OR, cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then REFRIGERATE.
Above three photos courtesy Google Images

Tips

Hard-cooked, not hard-boiled.
 Even though the cooking water must come to a full boil in this method, the pan is immediately removed from the heat so that the eggs cook gently in the hot water. This leaves your eggs tender, not rubbery,  and minimizes cracking.

Banish the greenish ring. This harmless but ugly discoloration that sometimes forms around hard-cooked yolks results from a reaction between sulfur in the egg white and iron in the yolk. It the result when eggs have been cooked for too long or at too high a temperature. Following the steps above will minimize this.
What Makes Hard-Cooked Eggs Hard to Peel? The fresher the egg, the more difficult it is to peel after hard cooking. That's because the air cell, found at the large end of the shell between the shell membranes, increases in size the longer the raw egg is stored. As the contents of the egg contracts and the air cell enlarges, the shell becomes easier to peel. Because of this, older eggs make better candidates for hard cooking.


Safety Tips on eating hard cooked, dyed eggs:
Dyeing eggs: After hard cooking eggs, dye them and return them to the refrigerator within 2 hours. If eggs are to be eaten, use a food-safe coloring.

Blowing out eggshells: Because some raw eggs may contain Salmonella, be extra careful when blowing out the contents to hollow out the shell for decorating, such as for Ukrainian Easter eggs. Use only eggs that have been kept refrigerated and are uncracked. To destroy bacteria that may be present on the surface of the egg, wash the egg in hot water and then rinse in a solution of 1 teaspoon liquid chlorine bleach per half cup of water. After blowing out the egg, refrigerate the contents and use within 2 to 4 days.

Egg Hunting:  If the shells crack on your hard cooked egg, bacteria could contaminate the inside. Eggs should be hidden in places that are protected from dirt, pets, and other sources of bacteria. The total time for hiding and hunting eggs should not go beyond 2 hours. The "found" eggs must be re-refrigerated and eaten within 7 days of cooking.

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March 25, 2015

Spring Cocktails

Spring is here and it's definitely feeling like it here in Northern California today!  With temperatures reaching close to the 80 degree mark and the days a little longer, leaves me craving some fun spring cocktails to enjoy out on the patio, or a friend's cabana!

1800 Tequila has provided me with three fantastic looking recipes to try and I just had to share with you all!


Recipes and photo courtesy 1800 Tequila


The cows are not all that are happy here in California.  Cheers!





Spring Fever
2 oz. 1800 Silver Tequila
1.5 oz. Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

Preparation: Combine ingredients into shaker and shake well. Serve in glass and garnish with lime wedge. 

--
Coconut Crusher
1 oz. 1800 Coconut Tequila
1 oz. Pineapple Juice

Preparation: Combine ingredients in a shaker and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. 


Tequila Daisy
2 oz.1800 Silver Tequila
1 oz. Triple Sec
2 oz. Fresh Lime juice

Preparation: Combine the tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a cocktail shaker and strain into glass. Garnish with lime wedge. 
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March 10, 2015

Crock Pot Corned Beef

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner and if you're like me, you only make corned beef once a year.....in the month of March for St. Patrick's Day.

Low and slow is how I cook mine....in a slow cooker / crock pot.








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February 27, 2015

20 Quick and Simple Kitchen Hacks!

Reviving stale cake with a hot water bath?    Flipping a fresh pineapple upside down to make it juicier?


Photo courtesy Google images

I received these 20 Quick and Simple Kitchen Hacks compiled by the team at Chef Works, the leading supplier of culinary apparel for professional chefs and home cooks alike!  Great tips!

1.      Use dental floss to slice cheesecake. The secret to slicing cheesecake perfectly can be found…in your medicine cabinet. Really! Hold the floss taut, as you would to floss your teeth, and gently, with a slight sawing motion, slice through the cake. Clean slices! For best results, use plain (unscented) floss.

2.      Spray or oil a measuring cup before measuring sticky ingredients to ensure easy release. Make sure you get all of the honey, molasses, or other sticky ingredient out of your measuring cup by spraying it with non-stick spray before measuring. It will ensure an easy release of sticky ingredients.

3.      Store avocado with a sprinkle of lemon juice to keep it from turning brown. It’s as easy as sprinkling lemon juice on top of exposed surfaces of avocado or avocado slices. It will keep them looking green and tasting fresh for far longer.

4.      Wrap the top of a bunch of bananas in plastic.    Seriously! Wrapping the top of a bunch of bananas with plastic will prolong their life by a few days, and will slow down the browning process.

5.      Run a knife under hot water for perfect bars, brownies, or cake slices. Run a knife under hot water, then dry using a kitchen towel or paper towel before slicing. The warmth of the knife will help it glide through the cake easily, for clean slices. Repeat, drying and cleaning off the knife between cuts.

6.      Make cookie dough in advance and freeze it. Most cookie dough containing butter can be made in advance and frozen. For drop cookies such as chocolate chip, you can pre-portion dough into circles. For slice and bake cookies, you can form dough into logs then slice and bake as desired.

7.      Combine herbs and oil or butter to make your own bouillon cubes. Start by combining butter or olive oil with enough herbs to form a thick paste. Form them into balls or cubes, wrap individually, and freeze or refrigerate. Voila–you have bouillon cubes ready to go when you are.

8.      Bring stale cake back to life by placing it in a steam bath. Place a slightly stale cake, either by the slice or whole, above a pan of simmering water. Let it steam for a couple of minutes, not so much as to melt the frosting, but to add moisture to the cake. Serve immediately after doing this.

9.      Freeze your broth in individual servings. If you’ve made homemade broth, separate it into common servings such as 1 or 2 cups, store in freezer bags marked with the amount or empty yogurt containers, and freeze. It will keep for months, and you’re ready to roll next time you want to make a soup.

10.  Flip natural peanut butter before you open it to help the oil incorporate. If you love the taste of natural peanut butter but don’t care for the messy mixing of the nut butter and separated oil, flip the jar for several hours or overnight. It minimizes the annoyance of stirring to combine, meaning less fuss and mess for you.

11.  Soften brown sugar with a slice of apple. Place a slice of apple in an airtight container with hardened brown sugar. Within hours it will soften the sugar. Once softened, use the sugar immediately.

12.  Use a plastic bag with the end cut off for easy piping of icing. No piping bags? Not a huge problem. You can use heavy-duty freezer bags instead. Simply fill with frosting, cut the tip of the bag off in whatever size you’d like to pipe, and get to work. It won’t be as fancy as if you have a fancy decorating tip, but it will do the job for simple piping work.

13.  Make your own confectioners’ sugar by grinding granulated sugar. You can make your own confectioners’ sugar at home with regular granulated sugar. Simply put granulated sugar in a blender, and blend for up to 30 seconds. It will grind the sugar into a super-fine, confectioners’ sugar consistency.

14.  Use a bottle opener to open jars. If you’ve got a tough jar to open, use a bottle opener. Use it to gently pop the seal on top, making it much easier to open.

15.  Combine vinegar and milk to make instant buttermilk. If you, like many, don’t use enough buttermilk to warrant buying an entire container, there’s an easy way to make it on command. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a measuring cup and then fill with milk until the mixture totals one cup. Wait until it curdles for an easy DIY solution. Using the same ratio, you can make any quantity.

16.  Store lettuce in paper towels. Storing fresh lettuce between paper towels will not only keep lettuce fresher far longer than just keeping it in the bag, but it will remain crisp and won’t get slimy.

17.    Microwave citrus fruits for 10 seconds before juicing to release the most juice. Lightly warming citrus will help it soften and release more juice. Microwaving it for 10 seconds will help you get more juice out of each and every lemon, lime, or orange.

18.  Store pineapples upside down. Store pineapples upside down for the best flavor: it helps the sweet juice which has sunk to the bottom of the fruit travel back up the fruit, making every single slice juicy and flavorful.

19.  Pour hot milk into the “empty” peanut butter or Nutella jar for a tasty drink. Don’t throw out that nearly empty jar! Those hard to reach bits can still be employed to make a delicious beverage. Simply add warm milk, shake or stir, and enjoy.

20.  Make your own yogurt by combining a few tablespoons of yogurt with cream or milk. Using the last few tablespoons of a container of yogurt as a “starter” you can combine it with a cup of cream or milk to create more yogurt. Use a bit of that yogurt as a starter for your next batch.
 
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