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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pomodori e Vino ~ Insalatone

My challenge this week was to build an Insalatone. In Marcella's own words this is a 'magnificent cooked salad'. It can be served at room temperature or still warm, with a light toss of good olive oil and rich red wine vinegar, a little coarse salt and ground black pepper... Quanto Basta! Each of the vegetables need to be cooked according to it's needs. Peppers are roasted over a flame for easy peeling. Beets are roasted until sweet and tender, then peeled. (For some unknown reason I could only find golden beets, even though two days ago they had plenty of red beets!)
The onions are roasted in their skins, then quartered. Potatoes and green beans are cooked until tender.The only thing missing was the velvety red from the beets in the color of the dish... other than that, it was a flavorful melody of vegetables. 
Remember to follow us along daily on Facebook or on the Pomodori e Vino Blog ... 
Ciao Y'all~

Monday, March 28, 2011

Blue Monday ~ Wedding Bell Blues

I have checked the weather at the beach this weekend. We are going to be blessed with beautiful for 'our' wedding. In the high 70's during the day... but there will be a chill in the air at night. I think these will come in handy!

This is a busy week...But soooo exciting!
Don't forget to check in at Smiling Sally for more blues.

Y'all enjoy~


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring has Sprung

There is no doubt that it is springtime in Alabama. I wish you could smell the sweet wisteria. It grows as wild as kudzu~ but is a whole lot prettier! The dogwoods are all in bloom too. My favorite time of year! Y'all enjoy~ Sandi

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Photohunt ~ Caged

The photohunt for this week is 'Caged'.
I had to go way back to 2007 for this one...

We were 'caged' in . . . On the London Eye!

Happy huntng y'all~

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday's Favorites ~ Countdown to the Big Day

We are on our Countdown to the big day. One Week to go!

Here is a peak at our 'favorite' bride and groom standing on the sandy beach.
We are getting excited!

What is your favorite today?
Y'all join in~


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Artichoke and Spinach Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite comfort foods. This risotto is a take-off on my favorite spinach artichoke dip. I have posted before my secrets to make good risotto . . . it works every time!
Artichoke & Spinach Risotto
3 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion dice
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup frozen artichokes, chopped
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
2 cup risotto rice
1 cup white wine
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup parmiggiano
3 Tbs butter
Saute the minced garlic and onions in olive oil. When tender add rice and allow to brown lightly. Add wine to deglaze the pan.
In another pan have the hot chicken broth handy. To slowly incorporate the liquid into the rice: Add one cup full at a time, stir once to mix then cover and allow the rice to absorb the liquid. Toward the end I add the chopped spinach and artichokes to the broth to heat them through. Repeat adding the broth to the rice until all the liquid is incorporated~ resist the temptation to stir overly much the risotto making it mushy. Once the risotto is done, then vigorously stir in butter and cheese.
You will love it to!
Y'all enjoy~

Monday, March 21, 2011

Blue ~ Open that Ting!

We had another beautiful Wedding Blues weekend. Brooke came home for the weekend to 'open that Ting'!
Of course I'm not giving away any secrets... But 'that Ting' is amazing
We ordered the wedding dress from Ting Bridal on etsy. It is a combination of several perfect dresses. Miss Ting isn't the only one who has been on pins and needles for the past several months.
The box arrived, and I still had to wait several days. I promised I wouldn't open it, but worried at how she could get a whole wedding dress in a small box that was light as a feather. A promise is a promise.
We were both excited when we saw the finished product...
You get just a peek~

Don't forget to check in at Smiling Sally for more blues.
We are in the midst of Wedding Bell Blues here!
Y'all enjoy~

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Photohunt ~ License Plate

The photohunt for this week is 'License Plate'.
That's easy~
Happy huntng y'all~

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday's Favorites ~ Pomodori e Vino

This is my Friday's Favorite for this week . . .
Fresh and simple salads... just in time for Spring!
This is a salad that is so simple and so full of flavor. It goes with almost any dish.
Romaine Lettuce Salad with Gorgonzla Cheese and Walnuts

Use the tender crunchy leaves of a head of Romaine Lettuce. The dressing is made with Olive Oil, Red Wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Bits of the Gorgonzola are blended into the oil and vinegar.
The salad is then assembled by tossing in the dressing~ then topped with walnuts and more cheese.
Next time I make it I am also going to include some slices of pear.
We have had so much fun following Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Italian Cooking. It's a Favorite...
What is your Friday's Favorite today?

Y'all join in,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

We are all a bit Irish today

Monday, March 14, 2011

Blue Monday

Its Blue Monday~

I have another blue project to show off... It is a good thing the wedding colors are shades of Blue! This has kept me in Blue posts for a while.

These are the cutest shawls! I have done one for each of the bridesmaids and for the beautiful bride. I think they should help to fight off the chill of an April night on the beach.

The pattern is one that I found in a book... It is a shawl that has buttons on the arms which will turn it into a shrug. I did it in a cotton baby yarn that is light blue with shots of shimmery white. I used seashell buttons that are just perfect.

~Don't you think?

I will be sure to get pictures of the girls in them . . . another Blue Monday post :-)

Don't forget to check in at Smiling Sally for more blues.
y'all enjoy~

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Photohunt ~ Machine

The photohunt for this week is "Machine'.This is my favorite Machine!
and this is a recipe from my other favorite, David Lebovitz. His Cookbook 'The Perfect Scoop' is a must have with a machine like this.
Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
1 pound strawberries, rinsed and hulled
2/3 cup sugar
optional: 2 teaspoons vodka or kirsch
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Slice the strawberries into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch (if using) until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring every so often.
Transfer the strawberries and their juice to a blender or food processor. Add the yogurt and fresh lemon juice. Pulse the machine until the mixture is smooth. If you wish, press mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds.
Chill for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Happy huntng y'all~

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday's Favorites ~ Guacamole

This is my weakness. When I'm at the Piggly Wiggly, I'll walk by and give the avacados a squeeze just to see if there is any guacamole in the near future.

I make mine with fresh ingredients... a bit of lime juice, purple onion, cilantro, jalapenos and tomatoes. A pinch of salt if I need.

You know the secret to keeping your guacamole from turning brown is nestling the avocado seed in the mix. Honestly... It works! My Favorite way to fresh guacamole is in a Margarita glass . . . With that seed in the bottom of the glass.


Now, Do y'all have a favorite today?
join in the linky party~


Wednesday, March 09, 2011


This is the perfect post for Ash Wednesday.
Have you ever seen the Sistine Chapel in Rome? This photo is from 2006, when Rob and I spent a week in Rome and visited the Vatican. Has it really been 5 years ago? We still talk about our time in Italy, seeing Rome and visiting the Vatican.

When we finally wandered into the Sistine Chapel, we were awe struck.... But the crowds, the rush to move through, and the guard 'sushing' us dimmed our awe somewhat.

Michelangelo's Last Judgement is only a part of the amazing fresco's. The walls and ceiling hold a series of nine paintings showing God's Creation of the World, God's Relationship with Mankind, and Mankind's Fall from God's Grace. He painted these in the 1500's. In the scene of the Last Judgement, you can easily see the flayed skin; which is thought to be a self portrait by Michelangelo.

Click on this link for a chance to sit in the Sistine Chapel, use your arrows to move around the room, the altar and the ceiling... Turn you speakers up!


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Pancake Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday~ also known as Pancake Tuesday. This is the last day to load up on sugar, sweets, and all things un-healthy~ before lent.
How 'bout a stack of fluffy pancakes for supper? Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tbs sugar
2 eggs
3 cups buttermilk
4 Tbs butter, melted
Get the griddle hot, around 375°. Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small lumps.
Test griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough. Coat with a non-stick spray.
Using a soup ladle, about 1/2 cup, pour pancake batter, about 2 inches away from one other. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute. Keep finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in oven. Serve warm.

The trick to light and fluffy pancakes is to not overbeat the batter, cook on the first side till the top has bubbles and looks 'dry', flip only once... and be prepared to throw away the first one :-)

Y'all enjoy!

Monday, March 07, 2011

More Wedding Blues

Happy Blue Monday!
I just have to share my latest wedding project!

It started with these Halloween signs that Big Lots was just begging me to take off their hands. I think they were 90% off of nothing.
First, I sanded and painted.
Then sanded and painted again.
Then another layer...
Finally I got to the fun part. I found the font that I liked for my signs. I am not the free-hand artist in the family. So, I printed off the words in the size I wanted.
Then I traced around the words in a sharpie that would bleed through to the wood.
Then it was easy to fill in with black paint.

I think they are perfect!
There will be no confusion as to where the dancing is :-)... after the wedding.
We want this to be official!
Don't forget to check in at Smiling Sally for more blues.
y'all enjoy~

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Photohunt ~ self portrait

The photohunt for this week is 'self portrait'

I hunted through years of photos... and all I could find was a portrait of myself. ~and my best loves!

Happy huntng y'all~

Friday, March 04, 2011

Friday's Favorites ~ ♥ ~

OMG ~ Do I have to much on my plate?
. . . and I am not talking Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes.

I totally forgot about this being Friday.

Thank you ♥BJ♥ at Sweet Nothings for the reminder!

What y'all don't know, is that in addition to being Mrs. WhistleStop~ I work not one, but two jobs. We are in the midst of planning this wedding and I don't even know what day of the week it is.

I'm counting on my bloggy friends for favorites today.
Y'all are my friday's favorites !
join in the Linky Party~

and now Mr Linky is on the fritz~I'm not the only one having a bad day!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Pomodori e Vino ~ Zucchini

The weather here in Alabama has been awesome. We've had warm sunny days and cool clear nights. Spring-time is here!

When I saw that my recipe for this week was Zucchini with oregano... I rushed off to buy my herbs. To the garden center! It was the perfect afternoon to play in the dirt. I was able to get my pots planted with rosemary, basil and oregano.
I made a quick stop at the market to pick up some fresh zucchini~ never fresh enough to have the blossoms attached as you would see in Italy. It is as fresh as I could find locally. I am going to have to grow my own, or find a friendly neighbor with a garden if I want zucchini blossoms. I don't know why we haven't been on the fried blossom band wagon. I can look forward to some when I am in Italy in May.
Marcella's recipe for zucchini with oregano is just that. The simple layering of olive oil and garlic, with thinly sliced squash and fresh oregano. Fresh flavors that are so perfect together.
Remember to follow us along daily on Facebook or on the Pomodori e Vino Blog ...
Ciao Y'all,

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Cooking Light ~ Notes of Citrus

Our theme for the March Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club is Citrus.
Notes of citrus have a way of brightening almost any food. I love the bright citrus flavor of lemon, combined with the savory sage. My recipe this month is a Chicken with Lemon and Sage. The recipe is HERE on Cooking Light.
I modified it a bit... and it is a winner!
Chicken with Lemon and Sage
4 chicken breasts
1 Tbs grated lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup minced fresh sage leaves
1 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Combine lemon zest and next 7 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl. Place juice mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour. (As I was making the marinade I put some in a small boiler and reduced it for a thick citrusy sauce)
Remove chicken from bag, and discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt.
Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
Place chicken on grill rack, grill over direct heat 15 minutes, turning once. Move to indirect heat and cook until a thermometer registers 165°.

Now let's see what everyone else has brought for our Citrus Virtual Supper Club...
Jerry has Braised Fennel with Orange
Jamie is bringing a Mixed Greens Salad with Pears, Goat Cheese, and citrus dressing
Val is treating us all with a glass of Blood Orange Sangria
MaryAnn has made an appetizer of Lime-spiked Black Bean Dip
Roz has dessert~ a Lemon Cake!
Don't forget, that y'all are welcome to join in our virtual supper with the blog hop!

Y'all enjoy~
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