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

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.