Sunday, July 10, 2011

Frozen Chocolate Bananas with Coconut

Need a quick ice cream substituent if you have a craving?  Or just need a perfect quick summer recipe for your BBQ?  This could not be a more quick and simple recipe – Frozen Chocolate Bananas with Coconuts are just a very simple dessert to make any time. It helps with your Ice cream craving and your chocolate craving. You can make it the night before and just throw it in the freezer for a party any time.

I was watching the Food Network the other day and Paula Dean was making these things and i just thought it was a brilliant idea and started making them right away.  I had all the ingredients and it took me about 15 minutes to make.  I even had to have a few pieces before i put them in the fridge, delicious.

Frozen Chocolate Bananas with Coconut

Adapted from: Paula Dean

Yields: 6-8 servings | Prep Time: 25 min | Cook Time: 5 min

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
3 large bananas cut into large bite-size pieces

Place the chocolate chips into a double boiler. Stir constantly, and when the chocolate is melted, stir in the vegetable oil.

Place the coconut in a separate shallow dish and break up any clumps with your fingers.

Cut the banana into bite-size pieces Spear each banana half with a cute wooden toothpick.

Holding on to the stick, dip the banana in the chocolate and turn to coat evenly. Roll the chocolate-covered banana in the dish of coconut and transfer the banana to a plate lined with waxed paper or aluminum foil. Repeat with the rest of the bananas. Place the plate in the freezer for at least 20 minutes and up to 8 hours. Serve cold, on the stick.

One Year Ago: Creating a Fabulous Table Top Decor

Monday, July 4, 2011

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp

I hope all my US friends had a fabulous 4th of July.  It was my anniversary weekend so we went to the place we got married – Whistler, BC.   I love it up there, it’s gorgeous during the summer, fabulous places to eat, and all kinds of outdoor activities.  I will promise to write more about it and share some photos.

But as you are aware I am a rhubarb lover and a few weekends ago I wanted to make something new with rhubarb and decided on a crisp.  Usually crisps to be are often too sweet, and also most folks will add a little rhubarb and lots of a 2nd fruit to cover the tartness.  I feel that you then loose the great rhubarb flavor of the whole dessert.

To me you should have equal amounts of rhubarb and 2nd fruit in this case I am using strawberries.

Also when you make a crisp I do not want the topping soggy, nor too much oatmeal, or too much flour.  I want it crispy and rich topping flavor and for this recipe I have added less flour, walnuts and graham crackers, but other cookies work too.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crisp

Adapted From: Kitchen Parade

Yields 8 | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Bake Time: 60 minutes

Filling:
3 cups rhubarb chopped into ½” squares
3 cups strawberries cut into ½
¼ cup brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs or shortbread cookies
1/2 cup oatmeal (old-fashioned)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375F.

Put the Rhubarb and strawberries in a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients, stirring often so that each piece is lightly covered.

For the topping in a separate bowl, stir together all the ingredients except the butter. With your hands, work in the butter until small, even clumps begin to form.

Slightly butter an 9” round or square pan. Transfer rhubarb and strawberry mixture into the pan then top evenly with the topping. (If making ahead of time, stop here and let rest for 3 – 4 hours.)

Bake for 50-60, covering with foil or a baking sheet for the last 15 minutes if the topping starts to get a little dark. Let cool a bit.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

One Year Ago: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bars

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

I can’t believe that I have not posted blueberry muffins on here. I love blueberry muffins and think everyone should have one good basic recipe; this one is a great basic blueberry muffins recipe.

As I started writing this I realized that I have not posted here for a week, time just flies. I have no idea where this week went. I was so busy with trying to get my yard organized for summer, my regular work, putting together midsummer celebrations, and life in general, that I had no time to post. But during the week I did make blueberry muffins with ricotta. This recipe you can use sour cream, yogurt or ricotta for your muffins and they turn out great with any of the variations. Even during busy times I somehow always have time for cooking.

I hope everyone had a great midsummer weekend.

Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker

Yields: 12 muffins | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time 25-30 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1¼ cups sour cream, plain yogurt or ricotta
1½ cups fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin (or line with paper liners) and set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl untill combined. Whisk the egg in a separate medium bowl until well-combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk vigorously until thick, about 30 seconds. Add the melted butter in 2 or 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition. Add the sour cream/yogurt or ricotta in 2 additions, whisking just to combine, and then add the lemon zest.

Add the berries to the dry ingredients and gently toss just to combine. Add the sour cream, yogurt or ricotta mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until the batter comes together and the berries are evenly distributed, 25 to 30 seconds. Small spots of flour may remain and the batter will be very thick. Do not overmix.

Using a large spoon or a cookie scoop sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, divide the batter amount the muffin cups. Bake until the muffins are light golden brown and a toothpick or thin knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time. Immediately remove muffins to a wire rack and cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mango Gazpacho

During a summer day nothing is as good as a cool gazpacho.  And, add some mangos to it and you are dreaming about sitting on the beach in Hawaii.   This recipe comes from Chef Nick Mastrascusa who works at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Hawaii.

For this recipe, I highly recommend selecting ripe mangoes.  Also yellow tomatoes, with their low-acidity, are used instead of the traditional red tomato. Make sure the mangoes and tomatoes are at their peak of ripeness for a big, rich flavor. Make sure to slowly blend in the olive oil so that the soup will have a velvety, smooth texture.  If you like your gazpacho a little less sweet, and slightly more tangy, use one mango versus two.

This soup is just not only delicious but also gorgeous with its yellow coloring. It is so easy to make, there really is no cooking required here.  And your guest will be astonished with how good this is.  Last, but not least, you can have a great time serving this soup: serve in bowls or martini glasses, use your imagination for decoration and enjoy!

Mango Gazpacho

Yields:  6 to 8 servings | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Chill Time: 4 hours

2 large ripe mangos (about 4 cups), peeled and roughly chopped
4 medium yellow tomatoes (about 4 cups), roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 small shallots
1 cup roughly chopped European cucumber, plus 2 tablespoons additional, finely chopped, for garnish
1/2 cup roughly chopped celery
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil, plus additional for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Favorite hot sauce, for garnish

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients except the oil, the salt and pepper, and the garnishes, and process until smooth. Then, add the olive oil slowly so it blends into the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

The thickness of the soup will be based on how ripe the mangos are. As there is no liquid in the recipe other than the vegetables, the riper the mangoes, the better.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Four hours before serving, chill small glass bowls or martini glasses.  You can store the soup in the refrigerator up to 2 days, if the soup is too thick after storage you may can put in some vegetable stock to thin it out.

When ready to serve, pour the soup into the bowls and garnish each one with some diced cucumber, a few drops of hot sauce and olive oil. Serve immediately and Enjoy!

One Year Ago: Thai Chicken with Plum Ginger Sauce

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Foodies 2011

Today I am featuring my Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Foodies but also a $50 Amazon Giveaway since it was my birthday yesterday (6/13).

This is just a little reminder that Father’s day is coming up on Sunday June 19, 2011.  I always do Gift Ideas for this occasion and the gifts are always for foodies.  This year all my gift ideas are coming from Etsy.com which is the world’s handmade market and I love it.  I always find fabulous things there.

Here are my top 10 gifts for Father’s  day from Etsy.com, something for each foodie father in every price range.

  1. Sweet & Savory Coarse Grain Organic Raw Mustard – $6 – Not too sweet like honey mustards, this one is more savory than sweet. They use pure local sorghum to sweeten this Canadian grown yellow/brown mustard seed combination. Red wine vinegar enhances this favorite for making mustard sauce and coating a brisket. This is a RAW mustard, however, this traditional condiment does not need to be refrigerated after opening and will not expire with age, only mellow.
  2. Hot Line Pepper Products’ Satan’s Bhut Juice – $8 – Satan’s Bhut Juice is made with the hottest pepper in the world, the Bhut Jolokia aka Ghost Pepper and blended with habaneros. It’s HOT and is made from all natural ingredients using fire roasted habaneros. Goes great on anything you want to spice up especially chili, stews and soups and can be added to your favorite BBQ sauce or Ranch dressing for a kicked up sauce. Makes a great dip when mixed with sour cream, and the possibilities are endless, just use your Foodie creativity.
  3. Julie’s Fudge – MILK CHOCOLATE ORANGE – $10 – A classic chocolate combination! Orange and milk chocolate – you just can’t go wrong! Yummm! Every awesome fudgy chunk is topped with a homemade candied orange slice! DELICIOUS! Creamy, smooth, and utterly perfect.
  4. Bacon Anatomy of Perfection – $12.95 – Do I need to say more?
  5. Magnetic grill guru master kit – $19.99 – All your BBQ grilling favorites in one sweet magnetic spice rack.
  6. Wine Bottle Stand – Self Balancing Wine Bottle Holder – $29.95 – This is an eye-catching, handcrafted wine bottle holder made of Walnut wood. It appears to be precariously balanced but will safely hold bottles with various neck shapes. It has multiple layers of a hand rubbed oil finish that is unaffected by water or alcohol.
  7. Chocolate Candy Mushrooms – $32 – These delightful Shitake-esk mushrooms (botanist not withstanding) are the perfect balance of salty-sweet-chocolaty-enlightenment.  Each realistic Chocolate Filled Mushroom is capped in organic fair trade chocolate and encased with a crispy (Neco Candy textured) vanilla shell and stem.
  8. Personalized Father & Son Apron Set – Monogrammed Embroidered – $41 – The perfect personalized matching Daddy & Son monogrammed apron set. Great gift for Dad & his daring kitchen accomplice. Aprons are embroidered with chef hat design & personalized with your name.
  9. Orange and Black Laminated Pepper Mill Attack – $60 – One of a kind handcrafted pepper mill, made from a gorgeous black and orange laminated wood. Curvy, cool, contemporary design. Sanded through eight grits and finished for durability. Stainless steel grinder mechanism that is designed to last.
  10. Handcrafted Wooden 24″ Wall Mountable Knife Block – $62.98 – Beautiful handcrafted 24” wall mountable knife block made of Brazilian Cherry with Beech inlays that cover the magnets to protect the knife blade. This block will easily hold 9 large knives (2″ blades), or up to 13 smaller knives (1″ blades), while using zero counter space. This knife block matches the cutting board perfectly.

Now to the $50 Amazon Giveaway since it was my birthday yesterday (6/13).  I really enjoy interacting with my readers on facebook – it gives me a chance to bounce ideas off of readers, ask questions, and just love to hear from fans.  As a thank you and because it was my birthday yesterday, I am giving away a $50 Amazon gift card! Simply go to my facebook page, and follow the instructions for entering.

Other Similar Items:

2010 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas
2010 Father’s Days Gift Ideas
Kitchen Fashion – what to wear in the kitchen
2010 Perfect Gifts for Him & Her

 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rosemary and Parmesan Crackers

Crispy, rosemary, salty and cheesy cracker. Very addictive!

This is the Secret Recipe Club “assignment!”  Every month you get a name of a blog and you need to choose ANY recipe from that blog and then blog about that recipe by a date.  It’s a secret because the blog owner does not know you are doing this until the reveal date.  My secret blog  this month was Baking and Boys, which is Katrina. Katrina has an amazing baking blog with tons of decadent recipes and lots of very cute pictures of her four boys.  When I was looking at Katrina’s blog I had a hard time deciding what to make but have been wanting to make crackers for a long time and when I came across her Thyme and Cheese Cracker I knew that was my recipe.

Instead of thyme I made these to rosemary. You have to love rosemary and salt combination to like this recipe, which I love.  The original recipe called for ¼ tsp of thyme/rosemary and to me that is way too little and I added 2 tbsp of fresh rosemary which was just perfect.  Also the recipe below has sugar in it and next time I would just omit it, since it doesn’t add anything to the cracker.

These go perfectly just as a snack or with soup.  We had them with split pea soup and it was a huge hit – all the crackers went.

Rosemary and Parmesan Crackers

Adapted From: Baking and Boys

Yields:  40 (2” crackers) | Prep Time: 60 minuste | Bake Time: 35 minutes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 6 tbsp all purpose flour
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp sugar (optional)
2 tbsp fresh rosemary finely cut
1 tsp sea salt (1/2 tsp in dough and ½ tsp for sprinkle)
Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbsp Olive oil

Beat the butter and lemon zest with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Slowly beat in the egg yolk and cream.

In a food processor add the cheese and fresh rosemary to make it fine.

Then in a separate bowl whisk the flour, cheese, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, rosemary and nutmeg together in a bowl.  Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture while mixing slowly.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat on medium speed until combined and dough is sticky.  Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Roll the dough onto a wax or parchment paper lined baking sheet dusted with a little flour to about 1/8-1/4 inch thickness.  Freeze the dough for about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 F degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cut the dough into desired shapes.  Brush the crackers with olive oil using a baking brush and then sprinkle the rest of the sale onto the crackers.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.  Let sit on baking sheet for a few minutes.  Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  Store in airtight container for up to 1 month.




Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

There are times when I need to put out a warning sign for a recipe that say “bake at your own risk” because the smell will be so good that you will eat the whole things.  Well for this Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread I am warning you, don’t come back here and tell me I didn’t.

Not only does this smell good but it’s just a cool bread, it pulls apart very easily, and it looks cool.

Do I need to say more?

Just a few yeast notes because I have had comments before where folks can’t get their bread to rise with yeast.  Few things to think about with yeast especially if you are using dry yeast.  Make sure your yeast is not old or expired.  Old yeast either will not rise or takes much longer to rise.  Secondly make sure your warm ingredients are lukewarm, not cold and not too hot. Think warm milk to your baby.  Then let it rise in a warm place.  I usually put it on my stove and have the light on.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Adapted from: Joy The Baker

Yields: one 9x5x3-inch loaf | Prep Time: 2 hours | Bake Time: 35 minutes

For the Dough:
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
2 oz unsalted butter, melted until browned

In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted.  Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract.  Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.  Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together.  Keep stirring.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be sticky.  That’s just right.

Place the dough is a large, greased bowl.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  Note: The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning.  If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.

While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.  Set that aside too.

Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out.  The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long.  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.  Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  It might seem like a lot of sugar.  But just go for it.

Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips.  Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book.  Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw.  A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.   Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board.  Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up.  Serve warm with coffee or tea.

This bread is best served the day it’s made, but it can also we wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Next week is my birthday and to celebrate we will have an exciting giveaway – so don’t forget to come by.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Green Tea and Lemon Sorbet

Summer is here. . .well at least in Seattle.  This weekend was a fabulous 75+F degree weekend.  I finished planting my first vegetable garden and really excited about it.  I always do pots of herbs and this year i am growing: cilantro, dill, rosemary, thyme, basil, and parsley.  But but also my first batch of vegetables and fruit.  For vegetables i have tomatoes, spinach, green beans, parsnip, radish, green onions and fennel.  And for fruit i have blueberries, rhubarb, strawberries, and red currants.  I am so excited about my red currants – it was hard to find but i haven’t seen them around since i was a little kid, can’t wait to see them grow. I am also just eager to see what will survive in Seattle and see what i remove or add next year.  I will give you progress reports through out the summer.

Since summer was here i thought it was time to make another sorbet. I had received a big box from Lipton to try their new exciting 100% Natural Lipton Ice Tea flavors and i was a littel surprised how good they were, because i can tell you I am not a fan of Lipton Brisk at all.  But this was not made with a bunch of chemicals and also not too sweet like so many other drinks are.  The new 100% Lipton Iced Tea is available in these flowing flavors:  Green Tea with Citrus and Iced Tea with Lemon, as well as two new flavors—Iced Tea with Pomegranate Blueberry and Green Tea with Passionfruit Mango. They also have naturally flavored and preservative-free diet flavors—Diet Green Tea with Citrus and Diet Green Tea with Watermelon.  I really enjoyed both Green Tea Flavors and the Pomegranate Blueberry.

Since i had all this Green Tea and it was a fabulous weekend i decided to make Green Tea and Lemon Sorbet.

Green Tea and Lemon Sorbet

Yield: 1 quart | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Chill Time: 1 hour

2 cups boiling water (only if using Tea Bags)
8 Lipton Green Tea Bags or 1 – 20oz bottle of 100% Lipton Green Tea
1 cups sugar (use 1/2 cup sugar if using 1 – 20oz bottle of 100% Lipton Green Tea)
2 tbsp  lemon juice
2 tbsp of vodka

The trick I learned to making a good sorbet is that you need to make a simple syrup to sweeten it, straight sugar won’t have a good texture. Then the mixture needs a dash of alcohol to inhibit the freezing process, otherwise your sorbet will be a brick. This formula is very easy and it should work with any fruit or flavor, just be sure to taste the mixture for sweetness and acid.

The rule of thought it that for every 1 cup of juice, you use ½ cup of sugar and 2 tbsp of alcohol. But since I was using already sweetened Green Tea I only used 1/2 of the sugar required.

If you are using Lipton Tea Bags, in teapot, pour boiling water over Lipton Green Tea Bags. Cover and brew 5 minutes. Remove Tea Bags and squeeze. This is your “juice” or you can use the 1-20oz bottle of 100% Lipton Green Tea.

Prepare an ice bath and put aside.

Then in a small saucepan, combine the sugar and ½ cup of the green tea.  Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium and cook until the sugar has completely dissolved, 8-10 minutes. Transfer the syrup to your remaining green tea and set over an ice bath. Stir occasionally until cooled to room temperature, then add the lemon juice and vodka.

Once the mixture has cooled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Also for the summer Lipton partnered with Pandora internet radio.  Who doesn’t love Pandora?  I listen to is while working out, at home and at work.  I love it.   To check out Lipton Pandora Stations go to Pandora PopLipton Country, Lipton Rock or Lipton Hip-Hop.

For more information go to:  Facebook.com/LiptonIcedTea or twitter.com/Lipton.

Note: I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Gen-Yknot on behalf of Lipton and received Lipton product samples and a subscription to Pandora One to facilitate my candid review. Gen-Yknot also sent me a promotional item to thank me for my time.

 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Places to Eat on Lopez Island WA

San Juan Islands, WA

Summer’s in Seattle are just gorgeous, and during this time i try to take a few long weekends and enjoy it.  One of the places i go to often is Lopez Island, WA and that is where i also went this past weekend.  Lopez Island, WA is one of the Islands that belong to the San Juan Islands archipelago in the northwest corner of the US.  It’s situated between US mainland and Vancouver Island, BC Canada.

Stockholm Archipelago

It’s an area of the US that is heavenly and reminds me a lot of the Stockholm archipelago “Skärgården” which is just gorgeous to me.  The big difference is that outside of Stockholm you have about 30,000 of these islands and they are very close to each other.  The San Juan’s have 97 islands and 6 of them are accessible by ferries operation by WA State ferry.  You can either walk on, bike or take your car onto the WA state ferry.  There are other ferries that will go to other islands but will only take passengers as San Juan Cruise or North Shore Charters. Otherwise you have to get there by your own boat or Air.

New York Times said that the San Juan Islands is one of the places to visit in the wold for 2011 and  I can see why.

View or WA state ferry from Lopez Island

To get to Lopez Island from Seattle you drive about 1 ½  hours to Anacortes, WA and take a 40 minutes ferry ride.  Lopez Island is a place to relax, there isn’t a lot to do but enjoy the peace, quite and the gorgeous island.  You can enjoy the Lopez Village with many cute little stores, rent a bike and bike around the island and see some amazing natural sites, kayaking, go to the farmers market, play golf, wine tour, or art tour.  Another big thing to do on Lopez is camping.

Lopez Island is the first stop on the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes.  The island is 15 miles long and 8 miles wide with 2,200 year round residents.


View from Lopez Island

If you ever on Lopez relaxing there are only a few places to eat but here is the full list for you:

Love Dog Café
My favorite restaurant on the island – always have the best food here.  Do not miss it while you are visiting Lopez Island.

Love Dog Café
Lopez Village
(360) 468-2150
Love Dog Cafe on Urbanspoon

Vita’s Wildly Delicious
This is my second favorite place to go and eat, just a fabulous selection of ready made food that you can enjoy on their patio.

Vita’s Wildly Delicious
77 Village Rd.,
Lopez Village
(360) 468-4268
Vita's on Urbanspoon

The Bay Café
This is my third favorite place to eat. Sitting outside enjoying the great waterfront view and having some fresh seafood.  Just delicious. Recommend reservations during the summer season.

The Bay Café
9 Old Post Road
(360) 468-3700
Bay Cafe on Urbanspoon

Holly B’s Bakery
Come here for breakfast and have some scones or a cinnamon roll.  The smell at this place is heavenly.

Holly B’s Bakery
Lopez Village Plaza
(360) 468-2133
Holly B's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Just Heavenly Fudge Factory
There are two reasons to come here.  First one is to get a scope of the Lopez Island Creamery Ice-cream and secondly to get a pieces of the AMAZING fudge.  Espresso is my favorite.

Just Heavenly Fudge Factory
9 Old Post Rd, Suite B,
Lopez Village
(360) 468-2439

Other places to eat:

Bucky’s Lopez Island Grill
Lopez Village
(360) 468-2595
Bucky's Lopez Island Grill on Urbanspoon

Galley Restaurant and Lounge
3365 Fisherman Bay Rd
(360) 468-2713

Islander Waterfront Restaurant and Resort
2864 Fisherman Bay Rd.
(360) 468-2233

Vortex Juice Bar Café
135B Lopez Road
(360) 468-4740
Vortex Juice Bar and Cafe on Urbanspoon

Lopez Island

Monday, May 30, 2011

Strata

I hope that everyone had a good weekend, and if you are in the US a great long weekend.  I know i did nothing but relaxed on and Island outside of Seattle for the whole weekend.  It was great, of course i did some cooking too but it was still relaxing and the weather was great.

One of the things i have been wanting to share with you is my Strata.  This dish was introduced to me by a friend years ago and i have been making it ever since, because it is an excellent brunch party dish.

One of the main reasons it is so great is that you can make it the day before and it is very easy and just delicious.

A strata is very similar to quiche and frittata but quiche has a pie base, frittata has no base and strata has a bread base.

All you need is some stale bread, some meat, cheese and eggs and you are ready to go. Prepare it the night before and the morning of the brunch put it into the oven 1 hour before eating time and enjoy your guests.

One of the worst things I know is getting up hours early to start cooking for guest for brunch, I love having brunch parties but to me it is all about good planning. Another great brunch dish you can make the night before is Baked French Toast.

Strata

 

Yields: 8-10 people | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Bake Time: 50 minutes

1 lbs sausage cut into ½ inch pieces (hot and mild mixture)
4 ounces bacon cut into ½ inch pieces
1 onion chopped
1 zucchini chopped
½ cup mushrooms chopped
1/3 cup of spring onions
1 tbsp of fresh basil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp of fresh parsley
12 slices of stale bread, ½ cubed, with the ends cut off
¾ cups shredded Swiss
¾ cups shredded sharp cheddar
8 eggs
2 cups heavy cream

Cut your bacon and sausage and add to a skillet and cook for about 5 minutes or until bacon is cooked to your liking. Add chopped onions, zucchini, mushroom, spring onions, basil, paprika, salt, oregano, and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from stove and add parsley and Dijon mustard and stir. Set aside.

Line 9×13″ greased baking dish with the bread. Then sprinkle the cooked ingredients on top. Cover with cheeses. And then whisk eggs and cream together and pour liquid over and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Refrigerate overnight.

The following day turn the oven to 350F degrees and bake for 40-50 minutes (without the cover for the last 10 minutes).

And for all those folks wondering where I got my wonderful “Eat” napkins, you can get them from Piper who is the owner of the wonderful boutique called One Sydney Road. They come in set of 4 and you can get a matching table runner as well.  One Sydney Road has some very cute items for your home and you have to check it out.

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