Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer Deviled Duck Eggs

I was at the local fish monger- Nassau Street Fish Market & Produce Princeton NJ, and saw they had Duck Eggs again, so I purchased six. Still having a small amount of my favorite Black Truffle Cappaccio; it was gourmet deviled eggs to the max. Sprinkle a bit of Aleppo pepper, replacing the usual paprika garnish for extra flavor and color, they were fantastic.

These did not stay on the plate very long, not one hint of 'devil' was left in that crowd.

My 'Partners In Wine Club' business partner Adrienne and I prepared a Greek Salad and Avocado Salad with grilled chicken accompanied by a creamy roasted garlic dressing for part of the main entree (eggs and some great barbecue). Try the perfect wine pairing- Iron Horse '07 Pinot Noir. A second bottle was opened on another occasion in a tasting pursuit to determine consistency in this Napa Winery's product- we rated this after a third tasting, 18 points, very consistent. This winery is known for its Russian and Wedding Cuvee's.

Fruit forward and barnyard- great 'New World' Green Valley, Napa BBQ meat wine!

Another article on 'Spicing Up The Backyard Barbecue'

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Roasted Garlic Gnocchi

 cilantro lime cream sauce with assorted mushrooms and yes, Fiddlehead ferns are still available. Gnocchi can take on so many flavors when you feel like going to all the trouble.

Many times they are served alone in a dish with a sauce, but adding some greens to compliment (broccoli Rabe, spinach, or greens) will help make it a more complete meal.

In Verona every year is a Gnocchi festival called, “Venerdì Gnocolar” (Gnocchi's Friday), and it takes place during the carnival season. This information and recipe were found on 'Cooking with Patty', and she has such a cute site!

2 lbs – 2 oz. whole baking potatoes
2 heads roasted garlic, mashed with 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 beaten egg
2-1/4 cups flour
pinch of salt

Boil the potatoes whole with the skin in salted water until cooked.

Drain the potatoes and then peel them while hot (careful not to burn hands). Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer and into a bowl. At this point add the roasted garlic mixture, and then add Add the flour, egg and a good pinch of salt. Mix until you have a nice pliable ball of dough.

Prepare a work area and dust it with flour. Take the dough, a piece at a time, and roll it out with your hands until you have rolls about 3/4 inch in diameter. Cut the tubes of dough into pieces about one inch long. With a fork, holding the tines against the work surface, use your finger to press a piece of dough gently against the fork and roll it slightly then letting it fall to the table.

Handle the gnocchi carefully so they don’t loose their shape. Place them on a lightly flour plates. Keep them apart so they don’t touch one another or they’ll stick together. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and then add the gnocchi carefully a plate or two at a time. When they float to the surface they are ready just remove them with a slotted spoon and set them in a strainer to drain off the excess water.

Make double batches and freeze them. After they begin to dry add more flour in the container around gnocchi, so they do not touch.
Sauce- saute some roasted garlic and mushrooms in olive oil- add chicken stock to cover ingredients, cook the gnocchi till tender, then add a splash of heavy cream and garnish with cilantro and lime. I boiled the fiddlehead ferns separately for 15 minutes, rinsed them, and added at the end. They gave this dish an added crunch.

This year it seems a bit odd to see Fiddlehead fern fronds so late in the year, but Whole Foods has said they are coming out of Oregon, and with the weather still being chilly this late in the year, maybe they have not unfurled in their neck of the woods. - Check out Mark's Daily Apple recipe for Primal Bacon Fiddleheads

I am happy to say that I have been excepted into the Foodierama family. Go check out their website for new and updated food posts daily!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Verde Salsa 'Green Sauce'- Tomatillo or Not

This is for a friend in Dallas, Cheryl with whom I have been in debate the past year over the perfect verde sauce. On a quest for a recipe she can make and live with, I explore several versions. Cheryl does not like tomatillo's, which can be a problem. There is traditionally a variance, but rarely do they come 'without' tomatillo's. Some are just better at hiding the flavor with more garlic (often roasted), heavy cilantro, and more chili additions as well as watered down. The 'verde', green in Spanish, comes from the tomatillo and green chilies. Either can dominate the flavor, depending on preparation.

I have made countless versions and recently found a brand at a local deli with little chili or tomatillo presence (flavor) she may like. I prefer making the second version, and if I have little time, I keep canned tomatillo's on hand, as well as canned chilies. Canned foods are high in salt, but time is of the essence and I do not always keep fresh tomatillo on hand. I also rarely salt when I cook due to HB issues. Homemade is much healthier and if prepared in larger quantities it can be frozen without addition of water (add after thawing).

I love tomatillo's and crush whole ones right into my bowl- I cannot get enough of this sauce.

Chili Verde
* 1 pound tomatillo's
* 5 garlic cloves, not peeled
* 4 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
* 1 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped


Tomatillo Salsa Verde
* 1 1/2 lb tomatillo;s
* 1/2 cup chopped white onion
* 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
* 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
* 1/4 teaspoon sugar
* 2 Jalapeño peppers OR 2 Serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
* Salt to taste

Remove papery husks from tomatillo's and rinse well (there is a sticky feel to them otherwise).

You have three choices in preparing the tomatillo's. Depending on the final flavor I roast or boil them.

-Roasting method Cut in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin.


-Boiling method Place tomatillo's in a saucepan, cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove tomatillo's with a slotted spoon. They will have a soft appearance as in photo above.


-Place tomatillo's in a fine mesh or cheese cloth and press through (helps remove much of the seeds which can give sauces a grainy mouth feel). After cooking the whole tomatillo my be eaten. Then along with any other chosen ingredients place all into  in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate for salsa or place over meat, poultry, or pork for slow cooking for that added twist.

Green Chili Sauce (no tomatillo), usually used to make variances of Meat Chili, or Carnitas

* 3 green chilies of your choice, fresh or canned- Jalapeño, Pablano, or Anaheim will do
   Seed and ribs removed- roast them over an open flame and place into a container to remove skin/ends
* 1/2  cup water
* 2 Garlic clove, peeled
* Salt to taste
* 1/2 cup chopped white onion
* 1/4 cup minced cilantro

 Pulse together in chopper or food processor. Use as cooking sauce or chill for salsa.

You can add any of these to heavy cream or sour cream for a Verde Cream Sauce over tacos or enchiladas. Add to diced tomato sauce for a wonderful twist on past with meat as I have done above. I have also added it to the meatballs like my Verde Pesto recipe as I have below (Verde Pesto Recipe). Whether you like the herb raw flavor of uncooked or a milder flavor from roasted or boiled tomatillo's just play with ingredients until you get the result you want.

I did not write the bible on verde sauce, so if you have your own, could you share it, or leave a link for her. Doggybloggy once taught us how to revive dried chilies by microwaving them, and that WOWed me. There are some good recipes out there to try- Rick Bayless shares a few in his cookbooks from the Oaxaca, Mexico, and his has tomatillo present in the recipes.

Cheryl, I hope this helps you in your quest to make your own verde sauce; otherwise I have found locations below, in Texas of this brand, Salsa Xochitl, Asada (roasted) Verde- claiming an original Aztec recipe, no strong tomatillo presence or flavor, only a mild mild chili bite- Mild, Medium, or Hot Available.

Central Market/Kroger/Whole Foods/World Market/HEB/Market Street/Sprouts/Tom Thumb

I roasted Purple Tomatillo's in Oregon (indigenous to the area) a few years ago, and made a cilantro cream sauce with shrimp over Salmon.

 Here is a 'Beer Battered Fried Tomatillo' and chili aoili dish I also made a while back.

Tomatillo's- a relative of the tomato and member of the nightshade (Solanaceae) family, are used in cuisine and cultivated in Mexico and Guatemala, where they are called a Mexican green tomato. They are in the tomato family, but not really the green tomatoes many are familiar with- also known as the husk (tomato)fruit, jamberry, husk cherry, or ground cherry. There is a German variety.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Love Tomatoes, but Mango will have to do

Okay, want the scoop on Velva of Tomatoes On The Vine?
  • She has a beautiful house 
  • A wonderful Martini Shaker named Fred (husband) 
  • Can put together a dinner party like no tomorrow 
  • Cooks great food, along with Fred 
  • Have great funny friends who kept us laughing 
  • She IS one of  the best tomatoes on the vine! 
After hearing our sob story about how our trip was not the best we had ever experienced, she assured me a martini would be waiting. Ahhh as I hopped up on her bar stool and watched Fred make (shake) us a lemon-cello 'Lemon Drop' Martini. I drank almost two and lets just say when the second one hit me- I was ready to discover just how welcoming her guest room mattress was!

The food, especially the shrimp, onion, capers, with olive oil and lemon dish (on the left) was the bomb! Well, that is until she began making a curried chicken dish over rice, then finished us off with Tres Leches Cake. One of hubby's favorites! (my camera died on the trip, so I had to use hubby's old one, thus the dark photo)

They truly made our trip. I would hope she would have us back again, as I would love for her to visit Princeton. That family is a well oiled machine!

Now- I thought about duplicating her recipe for the Curried Chicken dish she served us, but ripe mango was calling on the counter so I went for Spicy Mango Chicken. However it was too late to run to the market when I realized I did not have enough rice. Hubby asked if I had Farro, as he loves it. So, as usual Italian meets Thai. This dish worked out so well, and I will be making it again!

Now mind you this is not the same dish, but you can only imagine her jumping in the conversation as I watched her prepare toasted nuts on the stove, while she prepped a wok with seasonings (working effortlessly with Fred in unison to get us feed in a timely manner), put chicken into the mixture, and began to simmer the most aromatic curry.

Velva took rice from the steamer, and carefully placing it on a large platter, it was then covered with this succulent chicken and its sauce. topped off with the nuts and other beautiful garnish- we feasted upon the patio while great wine and conversation flowed down the long table. Rain had graced the area earlier that day, so it made for a wonderfully cool and pleasant evening. Did I mention their friends were a double hoot. My hubby and the other guest wife were out of control, and from what I hear her usual quiet self, and hubby's as well (I hardly said a word, yeah I know, but believe it!).

This evening the duplicated Velva meal does not look quit the same, but in the best way possible with mango curry infused chicken stock over chicken breast, slowly cooked in the wok, and placed upon the farro- then topped of with what I could muster up to emanate that fond garnish memory was as close as I could get.

Hospitality in the highest (Chris @ Nibble Me This in TN I have to say, provided the same).

Thanks Fred and Velva for showing us a wonderful time!

I am on my way out the door to buy myself a new camera- three years of my Nikon 8.1, but now I will be a kid in a candy store, and am hoping my days of that light box may be over!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Turning Over A New Leaf - Salads

May is a good month to get back in the swing of eating healthier meals if you want to slip into that bathing suit, or shorts. The heat often leaves you less hungry, so why not lose an extra few pounds?

This is exactly what is going on in my house since we returned from our fishing trip. This is also a great segway into becoming that summer locavore. Local Farms are beginning to produce seasonal vegetables and fruits, and the full blown area Farmers Markets will explode with vendors towards the end of the month in my area. So get ready to buy only locally, organic, and all in just one trip, once a week.

Mid summer last year a decision to eat this way after reading about a  family changing their whole lifestyle and living like it was 1900's again; it was and is still successful. Sustainable eating creates a more stable economy for your area and helps our diets by eating farm fresh greens, and grass feed meats. Took some meal planning, but it is worth it. Do not give into those 'Oh I've got to have this at the market cravings', and turn a blind eye to fast food urges!

Have you ever considered how much money you can save by soaking your own legumes and lentils? I do. Not to mention the salt canned brands contain. Frozen can work, but not all stores carry them. Chickpeas are so in expensive to buy. Many markets including ethnic (Indian, Spanish) stores carry them. Soak overnight, and then pressure cook them for twenty minutes. Season them ahead, and then refrigerate, or bag them up for the freezer, and you have instant salad or meal protein. Add rice to lunch or the evening meal, and you have a complete protein. Proteins come in such a variety of shapes and forms- complete and in-complete.

This salad- Chickpea Cobb, local mixed greens, avocado, local cheddar, local dried fruit trail mix, local asparagus, apples, red onion, parsley, cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, and local apple vinaigrette (no bacon).

Cook the chickpeas and asparagus (pat dry, and chop); add oil, parsley, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice and some mashed apples and toss; let cool. Traditionally a Cobb Salad is a protein packed plate of goodness- with chicken, cheese, bacon, avocado, eggs and tomato over greens. Our tomatoes were the cherry variety to the side, and we just popped them in our mouths when the mood struck!

 Happy locavore eating!

Wine- After visiting Up State New York's Finger Lake Region (Seneca) we brought home some wine, and opened a Herman Winery, Riesling. Semi-Dry and light, I added a splash to the dressing to balance out the meal.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Good Crush & WAMPP

Old and new friends are like a good grape crush, they stain you in such a way- you never want it to wash away. Like meeting Tomatoes On The Vine- Velva this past week in Florida.

Being part of a small vineyard grape crush back in Dallas was one of the best perks of running my own wine and food catering business, The Cork Screws Wine & Food Experience. A Good Crush, was part of the 'Event Planning' the company did for our members. I suggest if you see one in your area you should go and remove that 'Ewww' I do not want my feet in something I am going drink attitude, and have some fun.

Take some friends and watch their faces as feet go up, and that Lucy Ricardo moment begins!

A few high quality Burgundy vineyards in France still use the stomping method. Local women come just after harvest and work out any frustration, I can only imagine. The juice sits as it has already begun to ferment, and then vats are strained, and put into barrels. Many of these vineyards, such as Échezeaux- who are known as leaders in the fields of organic, bio-dynamic and sustainable practices in much of the region.

Did I get into the squishy grapes? Of course I did! I am in the photo below, and my legs were much skinnier back then, but you guess which pair are mine and hubby's...

WAMPP- Wine Art Music Poetry Project:

-A Not-For-Profit event supporting artists, musicians, poets, playwrights, authors, and wine connoisseurs, while raising donations for congenital heart failure research-  Childrens Cardiomypathy Organization

-WAMPP is about creating opportunities for people involved in the arts who might not otherwise have access to public venues and performance opportunities.

-Founded by Elizabeth Dillion-Stelling* in memory of her daughter, Anelisa Dillion, an young artist who passed away due to congenital heart disease.

-WAMPP is a family-oriented event that allows the public to sit or roam in an arts environment of scheduled music, poetry, author readings, children art activities, and with food and beverages (water, soda, and wine) available to consume on the premises.

I am happy to announce-

Wine Art Music Poetry Project
August 21st, 2010
10-8PM, Saturday
Straube Art Center & Sculpture Garden (a non-profit .org)
Pennington, NJ

My vision is coming to light. Musicians, poets, artist, and all others have so graciously agreed to help put this event on. Straube Art Center has consented to host the first event on their grounds, and other locations are contacting me to host one as well.

If anyone is interested in donating for this cause, please contact me, and I will give you details.

Many of you do not realize I myself was born with a heart defect, as well as my daughter who had Pulmonary Artresia. I also lost my clients daughter two years ago to Cardiomyopathy, something my daughter suffered from as well. A few of you out there who have shared with me your own loss of a child, and you know I plan on raising money for more charities as this gets off the ground.

Thank you all for your friendship in this blog journey that has helped me heal a few wounds as I share my passion for Food ~ Wine, and the arts (fun!)

Chef Elizabeth Stelling

Thanks to a fellow blog who herself has a heart defect, Brooke S. Rochon has donated her time and talents to design materials and the website for this event!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Squash Potato Casserole

My mother asked a boy I once dated, what his favorite dish was, so she might make it for him next time I brought him to dinner. He said it was squash casserole. My mother smiled as he went on and on about how he adored this dish when so many other kids did not like such vegetables. He also told her very smugly, the woman he married would have to like it and make it for him, because he wanted to eat it at least once a week for the rest of his life. She looked over at me and we began to laugh. Why? Because I hated squash, and she never made it. No one in my family ate it. I never had thought about it before.

Slowly I began to make squash part of my diet as I did other things 'good' for me. I did not care for certain vegetables, but knew I needed to feed my own children healthier diets- Out of sight, out of mind! I hide them in soups, casseroles, and pretended I did not just feel its undesirable soft texture as I bit down. Now, I love squash casserole. I have not made it in a few years, and not sure why. My favorite way to cook it- to grill squash and make quesadillas.

Okay, so this is not about quesadillas, but about how hubby once again (gotta love those husbands trying to help) went to the market and brought home potatoes, squash, and salad but no main protein. What am I going to do with him? Returning from our mini-vaca we had little ingredients, but there sat a huge amount of cheese I had received free from Black Star Gourmet.

Preheating the oven to 400 degrees- I chopped up the squash and potatoes into two individual non stick paella dishes (small pieces); added fresh herbs (yep, he bought those?), olive oil, and a dab of butter. Roast them for thirty minutes (until begins to soften), and then I 'squashed' the ingredients up together. Another fifteen minutes in the oven after adding cheese- Caprifeuille Saint Mauew, a delicate French goat cheese to brown them up. Then I topped it off with a few slices from the wheel of Soureliette du Fedou – sheep’s milk raw. Serve with a mixed green salad to make it a complete meal.

In hubby's defense he said there were no antibiotic free or free range poultry or meats in site at the market he stopped at, so he opted for a vegetarian dinner. I am glad he was thinking of our better well being. A good decision turned into a tasty experience. We had it two days in a row, because it was so good.

Gary, if you find yourself reading this one day, 'Your Loss'! Why? because squash rocks my world now- although I am sure my mother is still smiling...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Black Star Cheese, Petrus & Mother's Day Wishes

Raw Sheep's Milk Cheese Tuna Melt In Your Mouth- Over a year ago 5 Star Foodie and I featured a 'Duo Lunch' experience where I had mentioned my recipe for Raw Milk Cheese Tuna Melts. She said her daughter would love the idea of this sandwich and of using up some raw cheese she had left.

Stelling philosophy- If you are going to eat and drink, make sure it is good quality ingredients!

One of my favorite discoveries is raw milk products, and when I received Black Star Gourmets 'humongous' assortment and wheel of raw sheep's milk cheese(s), I knew my Raw Cheese Tuna Melt was in order.Yes, I took a regular everyday blue plate special menu item and kicked it up about fifty notches. The flavor is just too out of control, so you have to try it. The raw sheep's milk cheese, along with a few other- French brie and Caprifeuille Saint Mauew, a delicate French goat cheese, well, need I say more.

Normally I would be writing so much more, because I love to talk and write about food. Today, I am keeping it short. We just found out a good friend has pancreatic cancer and has less than a year to be with the man she loves. They met the love of their life later as I did my husband. They are devastated. I do not handle death so well, as many of you know. Loosing my daughter, and then my parents so quickly, and a best friend in Dallas to the same cancer all around 9/11 changes your outlook on life.

My wish for all of you out there is not to take holidays such as Mother's Day lighthearted. Love life to the fullest. Treat your spouse and family like kings and queens everyday possible. Eat good food and wine as often as you can. Enjoy every taste it has to offer with gusto. We may only be able to eat small amounts due to the economy right now, rather than large amounts of cheap processed and fast food, but in the end- no regrets.

Black Star Gourmet-

Soureliette du Fedou – sheep’s milk raw, semi-hard cheese (recipe for Raw Cheese Tuna Melt)

This cheese from the French Pyrennes has a classic, tight flavor. Rich, nutty, and bright. This brings French sheep milk cheese to a new level.

(Cheese in photo appears smaller than it really is, and I knew I hit the mother load when I opened my free gift box of cheese from this company. I want to say Thank You to the company for allowing me to use their product.)
Wine Pairing-  Along our thirteen year journey together, my husband and I have collected some good bottles of wine. Being the wonderful loving man he is...he will suggest we open a good bottle of wine to match the mood, moment, or reason for a meal, and its ingredients. He said I was like a fine bottle of wine for Mother's Day, so he opened this for my gift and efforts in keeping our palates happy. Petrus, made from Merlot grapes, was truly a good match for the assortment of cheese from Black Star Gourmet, and our 'gourmet' tuna melts.

Interested to know what one of the most expensive bottles of wine in the world taste like after aging for 20 years? If you get beyond the hypnotic price tag that might make one feel as though the wildly lush and exotic character of smoothness might float you off to heavenly vineyards, but it obvious aromas and flavors of black truffles, olives, earth and chocolate wrapped up with super velvety tannins, and every sip is a nuance that simply cannot be duplicated.

If you are ever involved in a special occasion where a bottle of this magnitude is opened, and you feel you are not a mature wine drinker, still ask for a small pour so that one day you will remember the experience. I hope you will enjoy it, maybe as much as I enjoyed pairing it with a high end cheese tuna melt!

Happy Mothers Day and hugs to all my friends ~ Elizabeth & Robert Stelling

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

'Soegalbi' Korean BBQ

This was my second time to make Korean BBQ. The first being 'Bulgogi', and I found these simple and tasty dishes to make. A nice change from my normal barbecue meals. Using spare ribs and small blade chops for this style barbecue along with the marinade, made the meat very tender and enjoyable to eat. Almost light, since we did not eat a larger portion.

Galbi or kalbi generally refers to a variety of gui or grilled dishes in Korean cuisine that is made with marinated beef (or pork) short ribs in a ganjang-based sauce (Korean soy sauce). Since galbi is generally made with beef ribs, it may be called "sogalbi" or "soegalbi" in Korean, whose prefix, "so" or "soe" (beef) is often omitted as well.

The ingredients are marinated in a sauce made from Korean soy sauce, crushed garlic, and a sugar source. Our meal was finished off with an addition of rice wine vinegar and hot pepper sauce, a few ingredients that have come into play over the years in their cuisine, but not traditional. I remember my parents using soy sauce in meats when we barbecued during my childhood, and enjoyed the flavor.

When cooked on a griddle or grill, the meat is usually cut in thin slices across the bones and called L.A. Galbi. This permits the marinade to penetrate the meat faster, allows the meat to cook more quickly, creates a more tender cut, and makes it easier to eat the finished dish with chopsticks. Just like the other dish, Bulgogi, you serve side dishes called 'banchan'.

In Korea, galbi is also a popular picnic food, and many people have portable gas or charcoal stoves for cooking it outside.

Sweet peas and 'ginger' potatoes serve as a wonderful side dishes for our dinner one night.

'Ginger Potatoes'- Take three quarts of water- begin to boil. Add 1/4 cup grated ginger and brew a form of tea, along with 2 tablespoons of honey, stir well, until dissolves. Remove from heat. Add sliced potatoes and let sit until water cools completely. Drain, and then toss in olive oil. Sprinkle with fine crushed red pepper (I used, Aleppo- named for the town in Northern Syria it originates from; almost sweet, but like Hungarian paprika) and cilantro,  then pan roast until fork tender, but have a slight crisp exterior.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Are You Hungry for a 'Gator' Recipe?

What kind of meal would you eat if you were in Georgia?

Fresh seafood dinner at Okefenoke Cafe, Taylor D's BBQ lunch, PBJ on wheat, Watermelon and peaches (not in season, shipped in with Florida Corn), Roasted Chicken, Carrots and Celery, and listed in that order of good to worse, to desperate, "Ahhh", Yeah we are heading in the right direction while waiting for 'bigger' fish to fry.

When you have a kitchen that has little equipment to cook, well, I am sure we could make it work, but it will not be...

Gluten Free Roasted Garlic, 'Sunchokes'- Jerusalem Artichokes, morel and leek jack cheese, vegetable's Enchiladas (lots of pressed down layers went into this casserole).Topped off with homemade salsa and Gluten Free Red Pepper chips.

Made in my own kitchen a few weeks ago, however I am not sure the coloring of the red pepper chips is true to its reality double. Do you find that when you are taking photos, you take so many, and still only one or two make the cutting room floor?

Some are either not exactly the color you remember. I still take the shots wait to eat, and then when I get one I can live with, I eat my cold dinner, says hubby.We want the money shot don't we? There are subtle but obvious differences in the photos after they were taken to Adobe photo shop (above and below).

Blogs have written about the 'Ten things that happen when you eat at a blogs house', and one of them is waiting till the 'shots ring out'. I am not at all trying to say there is an expert behind these shots, because there is not an inner photographer trying to come out, or will I quit my day job.

The right angle is a good factor. On the left, on the right, is it too close, or not enough details in the photo?

Apricot Sticky Rice. May is usually when fresh Apricots hit the market. Sometimes sooner. This is one of my mom's favorite fruits. Tart but sweet. A great versatile ingredients for sweet to savory desserts and entrees. 

This dish was made with a short grain sushi rice (short grain sticky rice available at Asian markets), soaked for an hour, rice was kneaded in the water, and then rinsed three times before it was cooked in the pot. Brie, maple sugar, and a few table spoons of heavy cream were added at the end. Flavoring, All Spice Berry soak in the warm cream before adding to rice. Dried apricots- you begin to see them on the gourmet market around April, and they are cooked in maple sugar and water. Gives the glaze a slight orange coloring and flavoring (press them down as they begin to boil and soften).

Why Brie, heavy cream and not the traditional addition of coconut milk stirred in? Look at it, it was perfection, and hubby said he would like it again.

Crackers and cheese- one of the FREE Gifts I received from Black Star Gourmet. (names of cheese posted next) The crackers are a nice crisp not sweet, or savory item. Seemed as though they were made like waffles, and very nice with sweet and savory!

Sweet Tea and BBQ Gator Sammies did not even make it to the cutting room floor- Taste Like Chicken!