Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Monday, January 7, 2013

moving my blog to wordpress.com

with the new year, comes a new format for my blog. i began this blog in april 2010, and look forward to a fresh start for 2013.  PLEASE VISIT ME ON THE LINK BELOW.

i have been searching for a new template, format, and blog style for a couple of weeks now, and have so many new posts to compose, from holiday cooking to searching for new gardening ideas and inspiration.

on the about page, find many widgets to help you share recipes and ideas, as well as blog archives, a wonderful new search function, and even a categories list for specific blog entries. i hope this blog will be a great adventure for you.

please continue to follow me and let me know what you think about my new platform on wordpress.com. i am on twitter, facebook, pinterest, and linkedin, ready to answer your questions and comments.

here is my new blog address:      http://www.angelfoodgarden.wordpress.com 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

lemon shrimp fettuccine

are you looking for a lemon pasta recipe?  well, this is one that combines shrimp, lemon and pasta which i have made more than once for family and guests.

sure, you could substitute any kind of pasta, such as angel hair or spaghetti, however; i think the wider fettuccine absorbs the wonderful lemon flavor and adds to the overall taste of the dish.

to make the entree:   prepare the pasta in boiling water as directed. meanwhile, heat a very large deep skillet with two tablespoons of canola or light olive oil on the cooktop.  add 20 large peeled and deveined shrimp (21 to 25 per pound) and cook about one minute until pink and opaque.   transfer the shrimp to a plate to rest while preparing the rest of the dish.

next, melt one tablespoon of butter in the same pan, add one teaspoon minced garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons pinot grigio or any white wine, fresh or dried lemon peel, one tablespoon fresh or dried parsley, and crushed red pepper to taste. whisk in two more tablespoons of butter or margarine, and season the sauce to taste with salt.  cook until hot and ready to finish the dish.

mix in the cooked pasta and return the shrimp to the pan and mix thoroughly.  toss and serve with a green salad and crusty bread.

asian pork and vegetables

here is your template for any Asian entree;  just substitute the lean meat, the chopped vegetables and the crunchy additions.  this is a very easy recipe that is easily adapted to your own selections and preferences.

begin with your lean meat.  i chose thin strip of pork, but beef or chicken could also be used.  prepare about 1/2 pound of your choice of meat.  mix the meat with 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sherry or red wine, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch.

next, prepare your choice of vegetables for the stir fry.  i chose broccoli, red pepper and white onion.  other choices would be:  any green vegetable, carrots, or cauliflower.  use about 2 cups of these total.  then, for a crunch to the dish, add 1/2 cup of bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, bean sprouts or even sliced celery.  any of these will work in the dish.  i used celery.

add about 2 tablespoons of canola oil to an electric skillet or wok, and stir fry your meat first, adding the vegetables and crunchy additions.  this entree comes together in a matter of minutes and is typically enjoyed by everyone.

serve with rice or lo mein noodles. 

celebrate - cookbook review

in her first entertaining book, Pippa Middleton shares recipes, craft ideas, and hundreds of ideas for making planned events fun and exciting.  the cookbook is nearly 400 pages packed with ideas for all four seasons.

the almost encyclopedia of party ideas begins with autumn, including ideas for Halloween, Sunday lunches and cozy supper parties.  Christmas, new year's eve and even burns night party suggestions are covered in the next chapter on winter.

spring and summer planning will come easy with beautiful photographs and step by step ideas on valentine's day parties, Easter and afternoon tea.  picnic, camping and barbecues are covered, which include ideas for cooking outdoors on a fire, with games and activities for children.

i love this book and was thrilled to receive it as a gift.  the ideas are beautifully photographed and the recipes are traditional and equally very British.  watch this blog as i plan to bake from this wonderful cookbook.

for more information on the cookbook, check out this link:

baked grilled cheese sandwiches

when making a quantity of grilled cheese sandwiches for a group, try this easy method for crispy baked "grilled cheese" sandwiches.  baking the sandwiches in the oven on a sheet pan works wonderfully and is much easier than grilling in a panini press or in a skillet.  this decreases the time of cooking and allows for all the sandwiches to be done at once.  i was skeptical at first, thinking that the sandwiches would not be crispy and crunchy to taste, but this did not prove to be true.  the cheese was crispy and hot, and the bread was crunchy as well.

to bake the sandwiches:  choose a firm bread, such as a sourdough.  butter one side of each slice of bread.  place one piece butter side down on the sheet pan that has been prepared with a light coating of canola oil spray.  add the cheddar cheese slice to the bread, and then place the top slice of bread with the butter side up.  assemble as many sandwiches on the tray as desired.  bake at 375 degrees for 6 minutes, and then check on the sandwiches.  turn them over and bake again for 3-6 minutes, until brown and crispy.  oven temperatures will vary, so watch them on the second baking.

allow to stand for one minute before cutting in half to serve.  this is a great technique.

and, these sandwiches could be adapted to be Swiss and ham or provolone and turkey.  the choices are up to you and your taste preferences.

Friday, December 14, 2012

brie stuffed mushrooms

these elegant and very simple stuffed mushrooms are beautiful and delicious.  they are easy to make, and i promise will become one of your fast favorites for a dinner appetizer.  these mushrooms are also good for tailgate parties and wine and cheese parties.

the recipe comes from the pioneer woman's cookbook, and could be varied based on tastes and preferences.  i used eight large white mushrooms, but a full 12 ounces of fresh mushrooms could be used.  wash or wipe your mushrooms to clean and remove the stems.  preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

melt 1/2 stick of margarine in a sauce pan.  when the butter is melted, and the skillet is hot, place the mushroom caps in the skillet.  add seasonings to taste.  i used chopped parsley, some minced garlic to taste, and a few chopped green onions.  as the ingredients cook and soften, add some pinot noir to loosen the bits in the pan and allow the mushrooms to cook in the skillet. 

remove the mushrooms from the pan when lightly browned and the ingredients are hot.
place the mushrooms in a ceramic baking dish.  place a square of brie cheese inside of each mushroom cap.  drizzle the parsley mixture over the top of the mushrooms.  add additional white wine to make certain the mushrooms have some liquid around them, before placing them in the oven to bake.

bake the mushrooms for 20 minutes or until the cheese is mostly melted.  serve the mushrooms out of the oven while hot for the best flavor.

these mushrooms also taste very good cold served with crusty bread.

to vary the recipe:  use a combination of herbs, such as parsley, sage or basil.  use a selection of cheese, such as mozzarella or Camembert.  even dried onions could be used in place of the fresh ingredients.

cheesy herb bread

here is a wonderful recipe for a cheesy herb bread that can easily be adapted to fit your appetizer party or as a dinner accompaniment.  to make the recipe come together very quickly, begin with one small round of unsliced sourdough bread.

preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise without cutting through to the bottom crust.  place the round bread on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. 

next , add about 12 ounces of shredded monterey jack cheese between the slices in the bread.

melt one stick of margarine in the microwave, and add 1/2 cup of finely sliced green onion with 2 teaspoons of poppy seeds.  drizzle this mixture over the bread.

wrap the bread in foil and bake on the sheet pan.  bake for 15 minutes and then unwrap the bread.  bake for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. serve and enjoy.

this recipe could be adapted for different tastes and preferences.  other spices could be added as desired, such as parsley or basil.  other seeds could be substituted for poppy seeds, such as sesame seeds or caraway seeds.