Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Munchies: Fig & Goat Cheese Spread and Sauteed Morels

My sister and her husband always host our family Easter dinner. I made a chevre-fig spread for a starter. It was very festive and I served it with sea salt pita chips. It went well with crisp bubbly Prosecco.
Chevre-Fig Spread
3/4 cup snipped dried figs
3/4 cup crumbled chevre (goat cheese) 3 oz.)
1/2 cup light sour cream
3 Tbsp. snipped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. milk
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1. In a small bowl pour boiling water over figs to cover; let stand 15 minutes. Drain well.2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl stir together chevre, sour cream, basil, milk, and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in drained figs and half the walnuts. Cover and chill in refrigerator up to 24 hours.3. To serve, transfer spread to serving bowl. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts and fresh thyme sprigs. Serve with baguette slices or crackers. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.
We also brought our fresh picked Morel mushrooms and Chef Cam sauteed them in butter, salt, & pepper. Delicious!

Aunt B's Bunny Cake
 Lastly, my sister Libby and my mom are the bakers in our family. Libby created an adorable Bunny Cake and my mom made Paula Dean's dreamy bread pudding. Those recipes will follow soon.

Easter Bunny Mimi & kids
Libby, Grandpa Sam (100), & me.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mushroom Hunting Success

I am... a mushroom; On whom the dew of heaven drops now and then.
~John Ford
Here at the ranch mushroom hunting is a family sport. Today we went out for our first hunt and it was a big success.
My son Indy found the first four so we crowned him Mushroom King. I did not think we would find any today and did not bring bags.
 We found this old pot in the woods and used it. Maybe its our lucky pot.
I found a fair amount so they called me Mushroom Queen.
Finding these mushrooms is such an adrenaline rush. I just washed them and hope to saute them in butter after Indy's baseball game.
When my sister and her family come mushroom hunting she likes to do a mushroom dance with the kids. Hopefully that will be soon.
Happy Easter Friends,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Bowtie Alfredo with Ham and Peas

Happy Spring! This pasta dish was a huge hit with my family tonight. I created it because my kids love creamy sauces and it has flavors of Spring. It took less than 30 minutes to make and was simply delicious. Use your leftover Easter ham or buy one just for this like I did.
Here is the short list of ingredients:

1 16 oz. package of Farfalle (Bow tie) Pasta
1 jar of Newman's Own Alfredo Sauce
1 16 oz. bag of frozen peas
2 C. chopped ham
Chopped fresh Basil
Grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 minutes. Add frozen peas to pasta and boil for 5 more minutes or until al dente or soft. Drain water.
Add Alfredo sauce and ham. Serve and top with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper. Enjoy!

Note: I have made this same dish using sauteed shrimp instead of ham and topping it off with crisp crumbled bacon. So elegant and delicious!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Change of Scenery with a Family Road Trip to North Carolina

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flow into trees. the winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ~John Muir
An invigorating climb of Mt. Baldhead - there's no vegetation up there!
We took a family road trip to the mountains of North Carolina for Spring Break. My dad and Helen have a one hundred year old house nestled in a mountain affectionately called "The Rock House".

Phoebe Fireball, Dad, & Helen
The weather in the mountains was mostly rainy and chilly with some snow. I'm sure glad I packed boots and coats for all. On the one sunny day we drove up the Roan Mountain and hiked the Appalachian Trail to Mt. Baldhead. It was truly beautiful. I felt so invigorated after the gorgeous hike.
Dad & me on the Appalachian Trail

Phoebe on Mt. Baldhead
We visited a gem mine and panned for rocks and minerals. We found some cool stones including amethyst, aquamarine, and topaz. The kids loved doing this.
Looking for gems
Me & Blaze on the front steps of the Rock House
My sweet husband even had rings made for Phoebe and me out of some stones we found.
The boys can't wait to put theirs in the rock tumbler.
The kids also loved feeding two horses in the pasture named Doc and Rebel. We went through a lot of apples and carrots!
The Yerf Dog go-cart got lots of use as my husband drove up and down the mountain with the kids and taught them how to drive it too. They also panned for gold in the stream and hiked in the rain.
A wonderful week in the mountains without TV, cell phones, and computers. More memories and delicious Rock House recipes to follow.
Happy Spring,