Summer ‘Fruit Platter’ Bouquet

This colorful fruit platter is truly a Summer Bouquet!

Fruit Platter Bouquet

 Fresh fruits artistically arranged and presented

in a lovely garden bouquet of floral shapes and colors

also provides an opportunity to

‘Eat” through the colors of the rainbow’

This fun fruit platter offers a mouthwatering arrangement especially on a hot summer day.

Make it with any variety of fruits in season.

What are some of your favorite fruits and how do you present them? 

Image from LOVELIEGREENIE

Hippity Hoppin’ Easter Fun

Have Hippity Hoppin’ Happy Easter FUN!

Natural Dye-d Eggs and Tie-Dyed Eggs, Bunny Buns, Deviled Chicks, and Bunny Cake

 

 And All I Need to Know…

. . . I Learned from the Easter Bunny!

HAPPY  EASTER!

Easter Bunny Cake

Let’s Eat CAKE!

Easter Bunny Cake

 Perfect for Easter:

Bunny Cake

 

Make this adorable Bunny Cake for Easter dessert.

 

What you will need:

1 layer of an 8 or 9 inch cake
White frosting
Shredded coconut
Green Food Coloring
Assorted Jelly Beans
1 sheet of plain white paper
Pink Colored Marker
2 toothpicks

 

Here are step-by-step directions for this Easy-to-make Easter Bunny Cake:

Bake a two layer cake using your favorite recipe. We like Chocolate but it could be a white or yellow cake if preferred.  You will use only one layer, so wrap the other layer a freeze for a quick dessert another time.

  Using a single layer of a baked cake slice in half diagonally.Easter Bunny Cake

Stand the two halves upright on a platter, cut sides down.Easter Bunny Cake

 About 2 inches up from one end, make a 2 inch wedge cut.

Easter Bunny Cake

Place this ‘wedge’ piece at the opposite side for the tail.Easter Bunny Cake

Slather frosting between the layers, including the tail and head pieces; then frost generously all over, giving a nice thick coating. We like a gooey boiled frosting such as Betty Crocker’s Fluffy Frosting but any butter cream, marshmallow, or egg white frosting will work. Easter Bunny Cake

Place shredded or finely flaked coconut in a medium sized mixing bowl. Using a fork, mix the coconut with a few drops of green food coloring.Easter Bunny Cake

Sprinkle, shake and pat plain white shredded coconut all over cake. Add the green ‘grass’ around the edges of the cake. Easter Bunny Cake

 Add dark jelly beans for eyes and a pink jelly bean for a nose.

Scatter additional jelly beans around in the grassEaster Bunny Cake

 Cut ‘ears’ from plain white paper and color in the centers with a marker. Poke a toothpick gently through the bottom edges of each of the ears

Easter Bunny Cake

 Insert toothpick into the ‘wedge’ cut behind the head

Easter Bunny Cake

HAPPY HOPPY EASTER!

Easter Bunny Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Christmas Tree’ Salad

Christmas is Coming!

 

Welcome to December — Christmas is just around the corner!  Here is a colorful Christmas Tree salad to add to your festivities

 

Christmas Tree Salad

'Christmas Tree' Salad

A healthy delicious salad filled with colorful ingredients becomes a healthy, delicious and colorful Holiday salad topped with a toasted Star!

From Healthy. Happy. Life.

I had no intentions of making this raw chard ribbon salad a “Christmas Tree” Salad. It was just going to be a holiday salad. Until I piled it into my bowl and watched as it formed a peaked tower that resembled a decked out holiday tree. 

Complete with shiny red pomegranate “lights” – glossy grape bulbs – twinkly satsuma ornaments – and then I needed a star on top…

 ..sprouted grain toast star it was!

 So my holiday salad turned into an edible tree..

 

Read the full post and get the recipe here:  Happy. Healthy. Life. from lunchboxbunch.com

 

Elegant Entrée of Poached Salmon

Attractive, Delicious, and Healthy too!Elegant Entrée of Poached Salmon

This elegant entrée of Poached Salmon with Broccoli Rabe and Pea Shoot Coulis was just what I was looking for and it satisfied my taste buds perfectly!

I already had a couple of lovely Salmon filets and was wondering how to prepare them.  The Broccoli Rabe and Pea Shoots, both looking very fresh and ‘green’ at the market, had already tempted me and were awaiting their turn at the table. Not intending to use them all together initially, when I came across this recipe, I was intrigued as well as delighted. I just needed the mushrooms and I was ready to make this elegant entree of poached salmon for an attractive, delicious and healthy meal!

Here is the recipe. It might seem intimidating at first, but follow it through and you will be rewarded! (By the way… I puréed the pea shoots so had a thicker coulis and I used less than 2 cups of oil for the salmon – I think my results were delicious!)

Elegant Entrée of Poached Salmon

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 Fresh salmon filets, skin on
  • 6-8 cups Olive oil
  • 10 ounces Broccoli rabe
  • Mushroom jus
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted butter
  • Pea shoot coulis
  • For the Mushroom Jus
  • 2 cups Crimini mushrooms, slices thinly
  • 4 tablespoons Unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Shallots, minced
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup White wine (Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 4 tablespoons Sherry wine
  • For the Pea Shoot Coulis
  • 8 ounces Pea shoots
  • 1/2 cup Chicken stock

Instructions

    First make the Mushroom Jus
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan with a lid. Add the shallots and cook on high until slightly browned, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook at high heat until the mushrooms become browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Once the mushrooms are cooked down, add the water and both wines. Stir and cover. Allow the mixture to cook, covered, at a simmer for 35 to 40 minutes.
  4. While the jus is cooking, prepare an ice bath. Set a bowl in the ice bath and put a strainer over the bowl.
  5. After the mushrooms have finished cooking, strain the liquid into the bowl in the ice bath and allow to cool to room temperature, stirring frequently. Add salt to taste. Discard the solids. After the jus has come to room temperature, place covered in a fridge.
  6. Next make the Pea Shoot Coulis
  7. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Set a cold water bath aside with a strainer submerged in the water.
  8. Once boiling, add a generous pinch or so of salt. Set a few pea shoots aside for garnishing. Add 1/3 of the remaining pea shoots to the boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the shoots are tender.
  9. With slotted spoon, remove the shoots from the boiling water and place into the water bath. Add the remaining pea shoots in two separate additions.
  10. Once the shoots have cooled, raise the strainer out of the ice bath and squeeze them gently to remove excess water.
  11. Place the shoots into a bowl and add the chicken stock. With an emersion blender (or a regular blender) liquify the shoots.
  12. Run the liquid through a fine sieve into another bowl.
  13. Place the bowl, covered, in the fridge.
  14. For the Salmon
  15. Preheat an oven to 225 degrees. Measure the height of the salmon to determine how high the oil needs to be to cover the filets (6-8 cups). Fill a cast iron skillet (or any ovenproof pan) with oil slightly over the height of the salmon.
  16. Heat the oil to 120 degrees on a cooktop and add the filets to the oil, making sure they are covered completely.
  17. Place the skillet or pan into the oven and allow to cook for approximately 25 minutes, until the white fat from the salmon begins to come to the surface.
  18. For the Finish
  19. When the salmon has 12 minutes to go, add 1/2 cup of the mushroom jus to a saucepan and bring to simmer on high.
  20. In a separate saucepan, add the coulis and bring to a simmer.
  21. Add the broccoli rabe and the 2 TB butter to the jus and cook on high, basting to broccoli often, until the stems are tender, but still crunchy, about 8 minutes. At the same time, add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter to the coulis and allow to melt. Salt to taste and set aside.
  22. Once the broccoli rabe is cooked, place in a dish and cover with foil. ( The salmon should be about done in the oven).
  23. Add another 1/4 cup of the jus to the saucepan and bring to a simmer at medium. Bring the salmon out of the oven and place it into the pan, skin side down.
  24. Cook the salmon skin side down lightly for a minute or so, basting the top with the jus. Flip the salmon and allow to cook briefly, until the top has a nice golden brown color, about 2 minutes. Remove the skin and set the filets in a dish and cover. Season with salt to taste.
  25. To Serve
  26. Add the coulis to a plate and allow to spread around. Place the broccoli rabe down, about 8 per person. Place the salmon on the broccoli and garnish with the leftover pea shoots. Enjoy!
http://greatfoodfunplaces.com/2014/10/22/elegant-entree-of-poached-salmon/

This recipe is adapted from Food52’s recipe for Olive Oil Poached Salmon. See their recipe here.

 

 

Let’s Eat Cake! – Watermelon Cake?

Let’s Eat Cake!

Watermelon Cake! 

Let's Eat Cake! - Watermelon Cake?

 Funny thing is. . . during our first conversations about this cake ‘challenge’ we had some discussion about who might want which cakes… pick and choose? or random drawings?

The conversation went something like this:

ap: “I haven’t looked at the list – I’ll wait until you divide them up.  You can just do it randomly, or all you others can chose the ones you want and I’ll take what’s left.   And what I get makes no difference to me (as long as they don’t have watermelon or licorice in them!)”

hj: ”I” get any with watermelon and licorice!!!  Dibs!  hahaha!   (ewwwww….)

 jm: “watermelon and licorice cakes – ewww – I agree = no thanks on my end !! UNLESS it is a watermelon shape/decorated cake! but no licorice”

And then. . . there it was!

ap: “Speaking of cakes…!!  — “No Bake Watermelon Cake Recipe”

The next ‘round’ of recipes went out with the ‘extra’ recipe for watermelon cake!

 jmThe Watermelon Cake * is up for grabs and would be a good ‘summer’ cake. If anyone decides to make it, please share your experience with us all!!

 hj: “I’ll volunteer to make the watermelon cake “sometime” this summer!”

And now. . . HERE IT IS!!

 “No Bake Watermelon Cake” Let's Eat Cake! - Watermelon Cake?

Simple ingredients:  1 Large Watermelon, Blueberries, Raspberries, Almonds, Whipped cream or Coconut Whipped cream.

Simple instructions:  Cut watermelon in a circle like a cake, ‘frost’ with whipped cream, add almonds to sides, decorate the top with berries.

It was really very easy and makes an attractive and impressive presentation.

One suggestion I have is to take courage and just CUT the circle out. I thought I needed to use as much of the watermelon as possible, so I more or less ‘peeled’ it and ended up with a ‘top hat’ shaped cake. It also didn’t need to be as big of a watermelon as I used (about 8 pounds – wish I had taken a photo of the un-cut melon).

Let's Eat Cake! - Watermelon Cake?

I also experimented with whipped coconut cream to avoid dairy and was pleased.  Use coconut cream (not milk), well chilled with any liquid drained off, sweeten with sugar like whipping cream.

Let's Eat Cake! - Watermelon Cake?

It was really juicy at first. The recipe suggests ‘patting it down” with a paper towel before frosting which I did. It was still juicy when cut, but the left-over stayed almost a week in the refrigerator… and was still very good – maybe even better than the first day!

Should this be categorized as Edible Food Art? Healthy Cake? Gluten Free? Vegan? No-bake or just ‘Cake’ ? It is definitely fun and delicious!

The perfect healthy “No Bake Watermelon Cake Recipe” is from Jennifer Garza. Visit Jennifer’s blog for more exciting information and recipes.

 

 

Let’s Eat Cake! – Heavenly Lemon!

Let’s Eat Cake!

 Heavenly Lemon!

 

Let's Eat Cake! - Heavenly Lemon!

Meyer Lemon Cake

with Lavender Cream

“The floral notes of Meyer lemons meld with lavender in the most heavenly way in this light, golden cake. The secret to the moistness of the tender layers is olive oil—a common ingredient in Provençal cakes—and they take well to the bright lemon curd and loose billows of lavender-honey cream”

  This perfectly poetic description from the introduction in the recipe says it all!!

One might expect this cake to be a bit heavy and dense with the olive oil but is delightfully tender and light and moist.

I really liked the cake –  made with whipped egg whites and lemon juice and will use this cake recipe as a base for other cakes.

This cake was easy to make and everyone who tasted it enjoyed it.

Each taster’s sweet/sour preference varied. Some people thought it was perfect because they like tart. Others thought it needed a sweeter topping to balance the tart. Personally, I thought the curd was too tart. But that can vary with each lemon, too.

The lavender cream had mixed reviews too. It added a nice balance to the curd but the floral taste was a bit different.

Let's Eat Cake! - Heavenly Lemon!!

Let's Eat Cake! - Heavenly Lemon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let's Eat Cake! - Heavenly Lemon!

 

 

 

Let’s Eat Cake! — Take 2

Let’s Eat Cake!

Take 2 —

Let’s try this again!   The first cake of the challenge was a bit of a flop — a funny but frustrating  “Epic Failure“.  Some of us are a bit cautious about our assignments, but we plan to just “plow through and see what happens!”  So here goes . . . “Let’s Eat Cake! — Take 2”

 The Pink Cake

Let's Eat Cake -- Take 2

With some extra time this morning,  I went ahead and made the cake and got it frosted, instead of baking one day and frosting the next. And just to let you know – all this fancy “mix with the paddle attachment, mix with the whisk attachment ” isn’t happening in my house. One little hand mixer is all I have, and it’ll have to do.

I was intrigued with the part of the recipe where the chocolate is incorporated into the sour cream.  That all worked pretty well.

The cake itself is very moist, and has a nice chocolate flavor.

The Frosting is another issue! 

First of all – an entire pound of butter???  Yikes! I love butter, but this is way over the top for me.

Secondly, my little hand-beater had a tough time toward the end of the butter incorporation – it got a bit thick for the small beater to handle.

I transferred it all to a larger bowl before adding the raspberries.  I used frozen.  At the price of fresh raspberries in this little town it was cost prohibitive to use fresh with the required 4 cups.  (A lovely raspberry patch would be so nice!)

The  buttercream frosting directions do say that the mixture will appear “curdled” somewhere along the line when beating in the butter, but not to worry as it will smooth out as it all gets mixed in.

Well, before adding the raspberries the mixture was nice and smooth and fluffy.  When I mixed in the raspberries, that’s when it “curdled.” I beat the heck out of it, and it never did go back to smooth and fluffy, so I gave up and just put what I had on the cake.

LET'S EAT CAKE! -- TAKE 2

I would  have liked to have added some chocolate curls, but I didn’t have any chocolate for that.

The frosted cake tastes okay, but that “frosting” has just way too much butter in it.  (It actually tasted quite bland before I added the raspberries.)  When I ate my piece of cake I ended up scraping off most of the frosting.

The chocolate cake itself is also kind of bland, but works well with the raspberry flavor of the frosting. I think the cake batter does need a rich frosting of some kind to make it work.

My take on The Pink Cake:

– it’s good, but not good enough for all of the work.

There you have it!

Top photo by Erin Kunkel

Recipe: Epicurious.com

Burrata Cheese with Roasted Grapes. WOW!!!

Burrata Cheese - WOW!

This  “WOW!!!”  is from a friend of a friend of a friend who shares this:

“I had an amazing dinner with my friend, Peter Gardiner-Harding, at his son Craig’s restaurant, Campognolo, whilst in Toronto last weekend. Here is a video of chef Craig Harding making the finest appetizer I have eaten: Burrata Cheese with Roasted Grapes. WOW!!!”

Burrata Cheese - WOW!

 

The “WOW!!!” definitely caught my attention so I watched this video,  and … wow! I can hardly wait to try it.

But first:  Just what IS Burrata Cheese? It looks  soft, creamy — yummy!   I thought I might have a better chance of visiting Toronto, before I might find Burrata cheese.  So, I researched (love the internet!) and it is more available that I imagined. There are even guidelines for making my own if I really want to. (I like DIY but I’ll pass on this one just now!)

Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese.  Burrata Cheese - WOW!At first, it appears as a little ball of mozzarella with a twist at the top.   Some sources describe it as an outer shell of  mozzarella with a buttery-rich filling.  Hence the name: Burrata (“buttered” in Italian). Actually, it is a pouch holding soft mozzarella curds and cream which has been described as “thick, spreadable strings of cream, with a slightly sour finish.”

Burrata Cheese - WOW!

Apparently, it was developed  to utilize the ‘scraps’ of mozzarella. Once the hot mozzarella curds are ready to be shaped into whatever form is desired, instead of the familiar stretchy mozzarella strings, a pouch is formed. The pouch is filled with the scraps or ‘rags’ of leftover mozzarella curds, topped with cream, then closed with a twist. Burrata Cheese - WOW!

Traditionally, the finished burrata is wrapped in the leaves of the asphodel plant  but now it can be found in a plastic bag or container.

Burrata is generally served fresh.

 

Serving suggestions are plentiful… I’m drooling!

Burrata Cheese - WOW!Burrata Cheese - WOW!