Saturday, November 23, 2013

Turtle Pumpkin Cheesecake...

This is such a wonderful dessert for the upcoming holiday...this is a great dessert to make the day before the big day. It holds well for several days in the refrigerator, it just gets better and better...

Turtle Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie wafers
1/4 cup of melted butter

1/4 cup of flour
3 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
1 15 ounce can of pumpkin
4 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cups white sugar
5 eggs

1/2 cup toasted pecans
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup of caramel topping

Heat oven to 300 degrees, mix cookie crumbs and melted butter in 9 inch spring form pan...spread all over bottom of pan and bake in oven for 8-10minutes. Cool at room temperature for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile in another bowl mix pumpkin, flour and pumpkin spice...set aside.
In a large mixing bowl with a electric mixer whip the cream cheese until smooth and creamy, scraping down sides of bowl. Gradually beat in brown sugar and granulated sugar...
On low speed add eggs one at a time...mixing after each one...Gradually add in pumpkin mixture until smooth...pour over filling....

Bake I hour and 15 minutes until set on the edges and the center is still shaky, open oven door and let cake sit in the oven until cool...take out of oven and cool further on wire in the refrigerator and cool at least 6 hours of better overnight...

Just before serving, sprinkle toasted pecans over the top of the cake...heat the chocolate pieces up with the oil and spoon over pecans and the top with the caramel..adding more to the plate when serving...

pretty simple ingredients...I used gluten free Jo Joe's from, Trader Joe's for the crust....they worked well...if you eat gluten try the chocolate cookie wafers that are in a sleeve in every store...

 crumb the cookies, I used the blender but a food processor would work great too...

add melted butter and stir...spread evenly over the bottom of the pan and bake for 8-10 minutes...'

mix pumpkin, flour and spices...blend....

cream the cream cheese...

add sugar and eggs, beating after each one....

add pumpkin mixture....

pour over crust and place in the oven...and bake for 1 and a half hours and then...

cool in the oven that has been turned off and the door is propped open...

take out of oven and refrigerate, until time to eat...

roughly chop pieces of chocolate...

Toast the pecans in a pan.......

ta-da!!!!! the pecans are sprinkled on the cake and the chocolate ready for the caramel...

This is the best darn cake...holds up well in the refrigerator...if you don't eat it in one day.....

Cheers to Happy  !!!!!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Organic Smoked Chicken Salad...

Organic Smoked Chicken good!!! We make this at my restaurant. It is a very popular salad. The good part or bad part, about having Celiac is, when I have a craving for something, I have to make it for myself, in my own kitchen. Recently I have been looking at this salad being served and smelling the smoked chicken and it makes my mouth water, so I decided it was time to make it for myself, at my own house. So in doing this you too get this special recipe and simple procedure from my house to yours!!!

This is a very simple procedure recipe! You start with a heated groovy pan or a hot plain skillet.

melt a half a cup of butter with 2 tablespoons liquid smoke, although this seems like a lot of liquid smoke, it is important for the flavor...

take two boneless, skinless chicken breasts and salt and pepper them on both sides...

place in hot skillet and liberally baste with smoked butter. Cook approximately 7-8 minutes on both sides...

still liberally basting with smoky butter...until chicken reaches at least an internal of between 165-180 degrees...(Your kitchen will smell heavenly at this point)

in the meantime toast some hazel nuts over medium heat until crisp but not burnt.

Here are the ingredients of this wonderful salad: organic salad mix, dried cranberries, fresh apples, blue cheese, toasted chopped hazelnuts and either homemade or store bought Italian vinaigrette...

and here you have it! toss the salad greens in the Italian vinaigrette, the sprinkle with the blue cheese, dried cranberries, hazelnuts and sliced apples. Then lastly slice and fan out the hot, delicious moist and well seasoned smoked chicken breast....Enjoy the best fall salad ever!!!!
Cheers to Happy  !!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Home Made Dark Truffle Oil Fries...

Dark Truffle oil...hmmmm...This intensely fragrant finishing oil is made from the highest quality Italian olive oil infused with clean, concentrated black winter truffles. Wonderfully earthy, it's heaven when used in risotto, pasta, or egg dishes or when drizzled over fresh mozzarella pizza or macaroni and cheese. I have read many times about truffle oil and still have never had it. It might be because of the price. It is very pricey..anywhere from $10 dollars to $50 dollars. I found mine at Trader Joes and paid the $10 dollars. I knew it was a gamble but I was sure I would love it. My boss at work has suggested we make Truffle fries on a new menu. I knew I better step up my game and at least try it. Man oh man, am I glad I did. It is so flavorful and delicious. There is no need for ketchup. It is so good plain.
cut your fries in even strips or use a mandolin to make even fries.

deep fry at 375 until perfectly golden brown.

drain the oil off on a piece of paper towel and sprinkle with course salt and pepper.

then sprinkle with the black truffle oil...

I used a separate pan. use sparingly. It doesn't take much.

toss back and forth...

place on a paper towel and shred parmesan cheese on top...

Now serve the very best French fries you have ever eaten! Guaranteed!!!
Cheers to Happy !!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Infused Water...

It is fall in the Pacific Northwest. Today is one of those crisp fall days, the leaves are turning and starting to fall. Our Mountain is full of snow, and she is absolutely, breathtakingly stunning!

I haven't posted one of my favorite things in quite a while. I found and bought these jars a month or so ago. First I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them, maybe use them for canning. Do you ever see something at the store and you must have it? You don't need it, but you convince yourself you do.
Well I needed these jars, really, really needed much so, that I went back and bought another pack for back-up in case I broke a jar....
I started using them for beverages, and liked them so much that I rearranged my cupboard and now they have permanent residence there...For several weeks I have been making my own infused water. This one is just slices of lemon, lime, orange, cucumber and mint...You can refill it daily. Use the same fruit in it for up to 3 days before slicing some new. It is delicious and I am sure healthy!
Cheers to Happy !!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Grilled Chicken Wings...

In my search for the perfect wings, I tried yet another recipe, this is my favorite so far!!! It is from America's test kitchen and it is so perfect!!! It is a great recipe to use right now during football season for those tailgate parties!! You are a Seattle Seahawks fan, right? I thought so! How about that game today? Wow!!!! They are amazing!

This recipe is so flavorful, the chicken is tender and crisp on the outside. I love the little charred edges. It is very difficult to BBQ chicken and especially the wings without burning anything. But these came out perfectly!

You start with a few ingredients that you may already have in the kitchen. The wings, cornstarch, salt, onion powder, chili powder, pepper, garlic.

 put 2 quarts water in a bowl and then add 1/2 cup of salt, mix until salt in dissolved... Add your wings in the brine and refrigerate for 30 minutes, (any more and it would be too saltly)
Here is a trick I recently learned, If you have a lot of meat to either marinate or brine, empty your bottom drawer in the fridge and wash very clean, marinate or brine directly in the drawer. Then of course wash very well in bleachy, soapy water to kill all bacteria.

season 3 large tablespoons of cornstarch...1 tsp of onion powder, 1 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp chili powder, and a 1/2 tsp pepper...toss together and then toss in your brined chicken wings that you have patted dry

Just to coat, do this right before on a medium to low grill

place the skinniest side of the wing down, and cook for about 20 minutes and then turn, cook for about another 15 minutes...

You want the internal temperature of the wings to be 185 degree. They are cooked at 165, but the collagen have not broken down until it at least reached will be so tender and not falling apart...

These wings are the best!!!!

Toss in Franks buffalo wing sauce or your favorite, I had mine with a homemade ranch dressing with a bit of blue cheese in for flavor....They also taste great plain! They are tender on the inside and crisp on the outside!!!!
Cheers to Happy  !!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Special Visit to a Very Special Garden

In a Japanese garden, every tree is perfectly pruned, without a leaf out of place. Nothing is planted without forethought as to the exact place appropriate to it.

 I want to share with you a little gift Debbie and I were given.  You see we work in a wonderful little restaurant in Kent, Washington.  We meet so many good people and some become such dear friends we look forward to every visit.
And this is no exception.  A dear couple had been coming into the restaurant for quite awhile and we had gotten to know them.  One of the gifts of being a regular is you get a whole set of friends.  We worry about them when we don't see them and cheer on the parts of their lives they share with us.

One day they slipped up and mentioned they had a garden that required lots of attention, being a wanna be gardener and always interested (nosy) I asked about it.  They told me a little bit about the plants and their Koi pond.  And the water wheel.  And away we went.  I told them Debbie and I would love to come and see their place and I would take pictures for them.

Well I took a bazillion pictures.  It took forever to edit them because they were so many great shots.
I am posting so many here because a garden like this just begs to be noticed.
Please enjoy them.

The wheel is so perfectly balanced that just a gentle push makes it turn.
Can you tell our friend is an engineer.... 
he built this himself it camouflages the garage at the
bottom of the garden. 
It is quite large and is a lovely spot to survey the beauty
all around.


 One of several pools for the showy Koi.  The cool thing is, the water feature is so large the fish can move about quite freely.

 There are two waterfalls- this one is under the bridge and is kind of like a
grotto.  It looks like it would be nice and cool for the fish on a really sunny day.

 This is the large waterfall, it draws you in and invites a walk across the bridge and a visit to the tea house.
 There are many different flowers featured our friend says she buys plants and he gets to plant them. 
Friendly daisies...
 Pink Lavender...and a bee.
 The rose garden -
 Isn't this a pretty colour?

The centerpiece of the rose garden.
 There are so many things to look at.
Love the simplicity of some of the plants
This green is so refreshing to the eye.
 More grass
Beautiful water lily.

Pictures of the lucky fish that get to live in this most beautiful garden:

Feeding the fish.

 Aren't the colors so amazingly beautiful?

 Do you love the whimsy?  

 I think this looks like Hotai  the God of Happiness
 The topiary is so large, their son keeps it trimmed for them.
Nice son I say.
 The stream feeds a pond on the other side of the garden. 
And there is an alligator in there.
 A better view of this amazing specimen.
 So peaceful.

 The view from the garden.  Yes that is Seattle and even the Space Needle
from this lovely garden in Kent.  Who knew?

 This is a picture of our dear friends.
No names please.
This is a private garden, and you have just received the
best gift ever.  An opportunity to visit this friendly retreat.