Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Photohunt ~Public

The photo hunt for this week is 'public'. I don't care how cute they are on the outside ... I'll pass
Happy hunting y'all~

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday's Favorites ~It's a Linky Party~

I♥ Friday!
It is time to show off our Favorites.

My favorite this week is just in time for another hot weekend...laying around the pool~
Peach-Basil Sangria
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 can peach nectar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 fresh peach and orange
1 (750 milliliter) bottle white wine
In a small sauce pan heat the peach nectar and lemon juice with the sugar, stir until combined. Add torn fresh basil and stir. Remove from the heat and allow to sit to infuse the flavor of the basil. Slice firm peaches and oranges and place in a glass pitcher. Strain in infused peach juice to remove basil bits. Add white wine and chill. Taste to adjust sweetness.
What's not to ♥ about that?

Come join the party ~ Y'all share your favorites for this friday.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Smoky shrimp and grits

This is one of those dishes that is so much easier than it sounds. Shrimp and grits can be a last minute hit that you can whip up in no time~ just ask our friends!
I keep a bag of shrimp in the freezer, and grits are always in our pantry.
Smoky Shrimp and Grits
1 cup grits cooked
1/4 cup smoked gouda cheese
1/4 cup cheddar
4 slices bacon
2 green onions
1 pound shrimp
Olive oil (optional)
Cook the grits accoring to the package directions (intant will work fine) stir in grated cheeses and set aside.
In a skillet, fry bacon until extra crispy, remove to cool and crumble. (I pour off most of the bacon grease and add olive oil~ but you don't have to)Lower the heat, then add peeled and deveined shrimp. Cook until shrimp are pink and curled. Toss in crumbled bacon and scallions. Heat through. Serve on top of cheesy grits.
I like to serve this with a little creamed spinach right on top. Yum!
and the best part. . . my time out of the pool and in the kitchen is cut down to just a few minutes.
Y'all enjoy~

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

another project?

Another trip to Hobby Lobby and another project!
I found these great frames on the marked down aisle in Hobby Lobby.
Cute? But not at all what I wanted. So I bought them anyway.
(is there anyone who can't see through this logic?)
I found some 'textured' spray paint in the color I wanted. The texture helped to cover up the
I printed some of our favorite photos of the beach.
Bill hung them for me (using more math than I would have) Perfectly!
They are just what I needed in my beachy sunroom. I love having casual dinner's in here... with chairs that don't mind if you've just gotten out of the pool!
I am linking up to a couple of linky parties... remember we have Friday's Favorites here at the WhistleStop~Y'all come join us!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Sides ~ Zucchini

This Sunday it is Sharon's turn to offer up a side dish. She suggested Zucchini~ since they are so abundant in the summer. This is a twist; it is marinated, grilled and served with mint!
How is that for a perfect summer side dish?
Marinated Zucchini with Mint
2 zucchini (slice lengthwise)
2 tablespoons plus 2 more tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar (I used balsamic instead)
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, torn.
In a small container, combine oil, vinegar, and garlic. Slice zucchini, then coat well with oil mixture. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper. In the oven at 400° or on a grill top, Roast until zucchini are tender and undersides are browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle zucchini with the leftover marinade. Let stand 1 hour (or refrigerate, up to overnight; bring to room temperature before serving).
To serve, sprinkle with torn mint leaves
These are great, with just a hint of mint. The perfect summer side with WhistleStop Pork Tenderloin or Lemon Caper Chicken.

Y'all enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Photohunt ~Hanging

The photo hunt for this week is 'hanging'.
You just haven't lived... until you've hung from a hot air balloon! Happy hunting y'all~

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday's Favorites

I♥ Friday!
It is time to show off our Favorites.My favorite this friday is my Kindle.It goes when ever I go... which is a much as possible.
Or... right on my shady porch with a cappuccino in the morning.
That sounds like the way to start a weekend.

Y'all join the linky party and share your fa♥orites!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pomodori e Vino ~Risotto with Parmigiano

This week's challenge for Pomodori e Vino is Risotto with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Luckily I was able to carry some real Parmigiano -Reggiano back from Italy. FYI~you can bring back cheese that is wrapped and vacuum sealed. I ended up with the cheese in my carry-on. I sweated like a shoe-bomber everytime I went through security... But made it home with my precious cargo.
Y'all know I love Risotto and make it all the time. I was very excited to see Marcella's technique for making the risotto. She is in the 'stir constantly' school of risotto. (who am I to disagree with the master?)
"Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and cook the rice, stirring constantly with a long wooden spoon, wiping the sides and bottom of the pot clean as you stir, until all the liquid is gone. You must never stop stirring and you must be sure to wipe the bottom of the pot completely clean frequently or the rice will stick to it."
This process is repeated with every 1/2 cup ladle of simmering broth. Until the risotto is tender, but not mushy. In the end... stir in butter and that fabulous parmigiano-reggiano.
The result is a beautifully flavorful risotto. I didn't have fresh truffle to shave over the top, but I did have a little white truffle sauce that was also tucked into my suitcase. How special is that?
Another brilliant adventure in The Essentials of Italian Cooking.

Ciao y'all,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

We have a winner from our Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club Giveaway! The winner was chosen from all of the entries on our blogs. We threw all the names into the pot and~~
~~Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner~~

The winner of the cookbook is Nicole from Seaside Smitten.
She has the cutest blog, full of wedding plans and ideas. Oh to be young and . . .

Never mind that thought.

Now, she will be able to cook healthy and light meals from Cooking Light!
Thanks for playing along.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Plan an Escape

Some of y'all know that I have been traveling with my friend Gail for several years now... helping with her 'Great Escapes'.
Gail lives in Atlanta and travels back and forth to Italy. She has spent years doing small group tours to Tuscany... and now to Umbria. Her group tours are so unique and individual, she can help you you decide how to spend your days and your evenings.
She has planned her new 'escapes' for 2011.
I am so excited... these look fabulous!
Her first week is a girls only trip to Umbria~ 'Our Umbrian escape in early May, Assisi, Artisans & Artichokes, will find us in a lovely agriturismo on a mountainside overlooking the town of Italy’s Saint Francis of Assisi.'
Then, another beautiful trip is planned for Tuscany~ 'At the end of May, our Tuscan Escape will take us to the rolling countryside of the Val D’Orcia, near Pienza, the jewel-like Renaissance village. We’ll stay in an elegantly restored historic 13th century villa '
Check out her website for details.
You'll see why we love Italy!
Ciao y'all~

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Photohunt ~Triangle

The photo hunt for this week is 'triangle'. I found the perfect pastas in Bologna.
Ravioli!Happy hunting y'all~

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday's Favorite ♥Linky Party♥

I♥ Friday!
It is time to show off our Favorites.
When was making my lasagna this week~ I thought of one of my Favorite trips in Italy.

To the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese factory. We got to see the whole process... from the cow to the aging process. Take a deep breath~ can you imagine this smell??This has aged for 2 years. It is amazing!

I managed to carry some home in my suitcase.So now it can be my Friday's Fav!

Share your favorite's this friday~
Anything goes.
Pick up a Linky Party logo if you'd like. We do this every friday.

Y'all come back,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pomodori e Vino ~ Artichoke Lasagna

It was officially Jan's turn to make the next recipe for Pomodori e Vino~ But I didn't want to miss out on all the fun. So, I made the Artichoke Lasagna too.
and BoY am I glad I did!
The challenge in this recipe was making the lasagna noodles. My new Mattarello and Rolling board worked out perfectly. My lasagna noodles were thin and fresh. Marcella says "the only pasta suitable for lasagne is paper thin dough, freshly made at home."

Ok, so mine were'nt paper thin... but close.
The base of this lasagna is a bechamel sauce made with butter, flour, and milk. I did use frozen artichokes (because if not I'da had $30 just in Artichokes!) I also used my special Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese... I hand carried it back from Italy. (which reminds me of another post I have to catch up on!!)

The lasagna is layered~ Marcella says no fewer than 6 layers. Start with the bechamel, pasta, artichokes with bechamel, grated cheese, then pasta. End with a layer of pasta, topped with a thin layer of bechamel and cheese. I didn't get to 6 layers before I ran out of room.
The interesting thing to me is that this lasagna only bakes for 10-15 minutes, until a crust develops on the top.

This lasagna is so rich and flavorful that even a small piece is more than plenty.
This maybe one of my FaVoriTe dishes so far in our daily journey through Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Stay tuned for many more.

Ciao Y'all~

Monday, July 12, 2010

Kitchen department at Lowes?

When I was in Italy, Y'all know I took a fantastic cooking class with Bluone. I learned to make fresh pasta by rolling with a mattarello~ a special long rolling pin. I've tried since, making tortelloni with my rolling pin. It worked. But it just didn't feel right.
So, today I decided to go to Lowes and find what I needed. First a solid wooden dowel that is 2 inch thick.. I had to buy a mile of it, so there is another mattarello for the making. Kind of like buy 1 get 2! Bart, the saw guy, was very helpful and might be coming by for fresh pasta.
I also found a 24x24 inch square piece of plywood that would work for my rolling surface. I took time to check and make sure they weren't warped.
I spent the afternoon sanding, washing and sanding. Pasta with splinters wouldn't be any good! I seasoned them both with oil and flour. In about 10 years they will be just right. Marcella Hazan says the most important thing is that they don't rest on the floor~ to prevent warping I have them hanging in the pantry.
First patch of pasta was good... and it only gets better from here!
Now that is thrifty shopping in the kitchen department at Lowes.
This week is Marcella's artichoke lasagna for Pomodori e Vino.
Y'all enjoy~
~I'm linking up with some FuN linky parties!
What You're Workin' With
Someday Crafts

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Sides~ Avocado

This week's Sunday Side Dish is from Shannon in San Diego~ She grew up with grandparents in a California paradise. Avocado tree's all around. So natrally she would pick a recipe with avocados.Grandma's Egg Salad
Hard Boiled Egg
A Little Mayo
Onion Salt (or regular salt)

"Basically, smash these four things up until it is good and mashed. You can use more egg, more avocado, whatever. I think it is probably one avocado to 2 eggs. She says you don't need to add mayo even, unless you want to.

She used to put it on HomePride Buttertop bread for me which I adored because lets face it that is not really bread, it is junk food. Use whatever kind of bread you want. A hearty wheat would be good... or sourdough."
I love Shannon for her simplicity... be it an egg salad sandwich or a small Group Tour that includes Grapes and Hops. She is the best.
My sandwich was piled high with fresh Alabama tomatoes on a whole wheat sandwich thin.
Awesome Sunday Side!
Y'all enjoy~

Y'all don't forget about our Cooking Light Cook Book GiveAway. The drawing is on the 14th!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Photohunt ~Free

The photo hunt for this week is 'Free'.
~And that is exactly what these little bites were at Gamberini's in Bologana. 'free'You just paid 2 prices for the drinks!
Happy hunting y'all~

Friday, July 09, 2010

Frid♥y's Favorites Linky P♥rty

I♥ Friday!
It is time for us to show off our Favorites.The hydrangeas have been beautiful this year. My friday fav this week is from the South Shore.
Now ... Don't forget our Cooking Light Cookbook GiveAway~ CLICK HERE to win!
Y'all share your ♥'s and join in the linky party!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Cooking Light Supper Club ~ a GiveAway!!

This month we are having a summer picnic for our Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club, and we have also decided to have a GIVEAWAY! To celebrate the 1st anniversary of the supper club, Cooking Light has agreed to give away a cookbook... more about that in a minute! Y'all know, we all get our recipes at Cooking and decide what we are bringing for supper. I am taking a big bowl of Herbed Potato Salad... perfect for our July cookout!

This potato salad is unique because the 'sauce' is made from reduced white wine, vinegar, and olive oil. Lots of parsley and some tarragon really make it special. This is not your Grandma's potato salad! No Mayo to sit in the heat and spoil. I love it!
We aren't just celebrating the 4th of July~ We are also celebrating Canada Day! Now let's see what everyone else has brought for our Cook out.
Shelby is bringing Honey Chipotle Baked Beans.
Jamie has grilled Romaine with a Blue Cheese Dressing.
Patsy is bringing Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches.
Val is going beyond the call with Rum-Spiked Grilled Pineapple with Toasted Coconut, topped with Salted Caramel Ice Cream for dessert.
Don't forget, that y'all are welcome to join in the fun and bring a dish to our virtual supper!
Now, for the FREE cookbook... All you have to do is leave a comment on our Cooking Light posts, an entry for each comment. Let us know what you would like to bring to our virtual supper. We will draw a random number and SomeLuckyPerson will win a fabulous cookbook from Cooking light.
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!
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