Thursday, June 27, 2013

Almond and Sweet Cherry Galette

Ok, in my previous post I teased you about pitting cherries for a cherry filled dessert.  And usually I will share such a recipe...but this recipe is from my new favorite cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. 

The author, Deb Perelman, also writes the famous blog, Smitten Kitchen. She cooks from a tiny galley kitchen in NYC. I especially love her baking recipes and her gift for telling a story with each recipe.  I have been cooking and reading my way through her new cookbook, and haven't found anything I didn't like so far. This is the second time (and not the last) I made the Almond and Sweet Cherry Galette. You start by making her perfect all butter, really flaky pie dough (which can be made ahead and frozen), then you make a melt in your mouth almond paste  (can be made two days ahead) which holds the cherries in place, and lastly you pit your cherries with your XOX Cherry and Olive Pitter.  The combination of cherries and almonds make the most delicious summer dessert imaginable. I'm sorry this recipe is not on her blog, and it wouldn't be fair to the author by sharing her recipe.   

So if you are looking for new cookbook, I would highly recommend buying or borrowing this book from your library.  This recipe is worth it.  

Linked to Savvy Southern Style, DwellingsBoogieboard CottageThe chicken ChickMy Uncommon Slice of Surburia,  A Stroll Thru LifeCity Farmhouse, Alderberry Hill

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


You would think that having worked at Williams Sonoma would make me a gadget person, but due to a constraints of a small kitchen I'm not. Occasionally I come across a kitchen tool that is a necessity though. Pitting cherries for a dessert is a royal pain, time consuming and a turnoff to making a cherry filled dessert. I've used the paperclip method, which does the job, but is messy and time consuming.  So my new favorite kitchen tool is the XOX Cherry and Olive Pitter. Worth it's weight in gold.  I was able to pit a bowl of cherries in minutes. Ahhhh the simple things that make me happy.  

Linked to Savvy Southern Style, A Stroll Thur Life, City Farmhouse Live Laugh Rowe

Monday, June 24, 2013

Rabbit Terrine and Radishes

These radishes are from my garden and the rabbit terrine was purchased during my Williams Sonoma days.  I think they make a charming set up, since the rabbits in my yard would love to get at my row of radishes. This 8x10 oil on panel is available in my Esty Shop.

Linked with Dwellings, Boogieboard Cottage, The chicken Chick, My Uncommon Slice of Surburia, Savvy Southern Style,  A Stroll Thru Life, City Farmhouse

Friday, June 21, 2013

Have a lovely Weekend

Hope you get a chance to get away this weekend and sit beside the sea.

Avon by the Sea, NJ

Linked to Savvy Southern Style

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Copper Pitcher with Cherries

This painting has one of my favorite objects to paint, copper.  This spring my art teacher taught us the formula for painting copper, and that is what I love about this art class - there is a formula!  Painting can be learned the same as cooking, computer programs or musical instruments.  It just takes a formula, practice and a desire to succeed.  6x6 oil painting on Gessobord.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Almond Coconut Milk Risotto Pudding

Looking for something creamy, cool and comforting for dessert this summer. Risotto pudding is a perfect make-ahead dessert served chilled. Making risotto is time consuming, but developing the creamy sweet pudding is an art worth mastering. 

My secret ingredient for this pudding is blueberry blossom raw honey.  Our farm market carries all different types of local honey and the flavor depends on where the hives are kept and which crops are grown in nearby fields. This raw honey was from a hive near a blueberry farm and there are bits of pollen, wax, and a distinct blueberry flavor. Raw honey is pasteurized, but at a lower temperature to create a peanut butter consistency. Eating local raw honey has made an amazing difference in my spring allergies.  

Almond Coconut Milk Risotto Pudding - Serves 4

3/4 cup of arborio rice
3 1/2 cups unsweetened - Blue Diamond Almond Breeze - Almond Coconut Blend
1 cup of water
1/4 cup raw honey (blueberry or your own favorite)
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/8 fresh nutmeg
1 pinch of salt
1/4 of a cup of raspberries and blue berries for garnish
Sprinkle of cinnamon

Bring 1 cup of water, a pinch of salt, and 3/4 cup of arborio rice to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer until water is absorbed and rice opens - about 3-5 minutes.  In the mean time add the following ingredients to 3 1/2 cups of almond milk in a microwave safe bowl -  1/4 cup raw honey, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and heat in microwave until warm and honey is dissolved.  Slowly add 1-2 ladles of warmed almond milk to rice.  Stir to combine and continue to stir every few minutes keeping a watchful eye on your pudding.   Every 4-5 minutes add another ladle or two of almond milk to the pudding and stir until incorporated for about 20 minutes.  Rice should be creamy and wet when finished.  Garnish with raspberries, blueberries and a sprinkling of cinnamon.  Makes four 3/4 cup servings.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Scarlett's Day at the Beach

Scarlett was my Golden Retriever (with a summer haircut).  Can't believe it's a year since she passed and I'm finally ready to paint her again.  This picture was taken on our last family beach day together two years ago.  She loved the beach and like to remember how much fun she had this day.

5X7 oil on Gessbord

Awaiting the "catch of the day"

"A perfect beach day"

Monday, June 10, 2013

Peony Season Ends

These are the final peonies from my garden.  I'm going to miss these showy pink ballet tutus that make your heart skip a beat.  The season is definitely too short.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Enjoy your Weekend

Wishing you a relaxing weekend.  I'll be spending mine sitting in "The Casbah" (aka gazebo) my favorite summer room.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


These peonies were picked from my garden this weekend.  Peonies seem to have such a short blooming season and heavy rain can make it even shorter.  So as soon as they bloom every June I cut them and enjoy them.  The mint green vase was a garage sale find.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunflowers in Mason Jar

These sunflowers were painted in class last week.  My painting class takes place in the back of a framing shop owned by a fellow student and new friend, Elkie.  She placed this frame over the painting and it was magical.  When I brought it home I tried the frame on a few of my painting and it is truly a frame that makes any classic still life look fabulous.  8X10 oil on Gessobord.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Striper Grilled with Chimichurri Sauce

It's summer time and it's all about grilling.  Every week we grill our favorite meat, chicken and fish.  So what brings it up a notch... a spicy bold sauce made with fresh herbs, olive oil and lemon juice... that goes with everything - Chimichurri Sauce.  Yes, it has a few ingredients, but once I make it for the week I use on everything that doesn't move in my refrigerator.  This is my version, a little spicy with a hint of lemon.

This weekend I'm using it on fresh Striper. The boys went on a fishing charter out of the Shark River inlet in NJ in search of Stripers.  Unfortunately, due to the storms the previous week, the bass bite has been off.  So their trip began fishing the Shrewsberry rocks for Black Sea Bass.  After filling the cooler with delicious Sea Bass, they headed south in search of birds and bunker.  The evening started off hooking into a few of the biggest bluefish they have ever seen (Gators Blues).  As the sun began to set the first of three 30 lb. bass took the bait.  Over all, a very successful trip and Striper is the star of our Saturday night dinner for family and friends.

Chimichurri Sauce

2 cups fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
3  large gloves finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon or to taste (spicy) Sriracha sauce
2 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

In the food processor, chopped garlic and parsley.  Slowly add the olive oil.  When combined add oregano, salt, cumin, pepper, red wine vinegar, sriracha sauce and lemon juice.  Process, taste and adjust seasoning.

Striper - Grilled

2 lbs fresh striper - cut into 6 oz. pieces
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Lemon Juice

Heat grill to medium.   Rub fish with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Place fish on a oiled grill-pan for the grill and cook for 15 minutes depending on the thickness of your striper.  My piece of striper piece was 1 1/2 inches thick and took about 20 minutes over medium heat.  It's done when it's firm to the touch.  Serve with Chimichurri sauce.