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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Traveling Tuesdays ~ Edinburgh

Rob and I have been comparing our trips to Edinburgh. I stayed in the up-scale and swanky Scotsman Hotel ~ fabulous!He stayed just down the Royal Mile at the Edinburgh Youth Hostel . . . at about 1/10th the cost. After that, our trips were very similar. We both agree that our favorite restaurant is Amber We each wandered the Royal Mile. ~OK, I may have stopped in a few more shops than he did.We were awed by the beauty of the open aired chapel at Holyrood.A place we both would love to go again.
After hearing a few stories, I have decided that those youth hostels are for the young :-)

Now . . . where is everyone else traveling this tuesday?
Y'all enjoy the ride~

Monday, January 30, 2012

Blue Monday's ~ Fritatta di Verdura

I'm glad my blue teapot was in the photo ~ So I can post this on Blue Monday.
This is our traditional sunday morning breakfast. ~ Call it a 'clean out the fridge fritatta'. Fritatta di Verdura in Italiano . . . doesn't that sound so much better? It does when David Rocco says it.

So . . . in cleaning out the fridge I found ~ A hand full of spinach, 4 mushrooms, diced onion, bell pepper and pepperoni. 6 eggs and some parmesean cheese. This is his recipe, although I make it my own from week to week.
Fritatta di Verdura
5 large eggs
thinly slice 1 potato
thinly slice 1 red pepper,
thinly slice 1 onion
1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
In a bowl, beat eggs with freshly grated cheese. Salt & pepper to taste.
Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add veggies.
Cook for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
(consider that some things will need to cook a little longer than others. Add fresh spinach toward the end)
Pour egg mixture into frying pan. With a fork, evenly distribute egg mixture.
Cook over medium head for approximately 3 - 4 minutes without stirring.
Place under the broiler to finish the top.

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

Friday, January 27, 2012

PhotoHunt ~ Fluffy

The PhotoHunt for this week is 'Fluffy' I found pictures of a beautiful wedding couple~ next to their 'fluffy' wedding cake.The bride is in her fluffy dress, with fluffy flowers in her hair.And of course. . . these custom Wedding Cake Toppers are available through Gimme Some Sugar at Etsy!
Check for all the other fluffy photos on The Saturday PhotoHunt

Happy Hunting y'all~

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Flavors ~Beef~ 'Beef Roast with Chocolate Sauce'

Y'all know that this week is Wide Open! I hope that we see a variety of recipes for beef.
I saw in The Flavor Bible, that chocolate is a flavor that goes well with beef.
Hmmmm ~ Red wine goes with beef, and we know that chocolate goes with Red wine. Why not give it a try?? I have capitalized all the flavors that are recommended with beef.
Beef Roast with Chocolate Sauce
1 (2-pound) beef tenderloin roast
1/4 tsp SALT
1/4 tspn freshly ground BLACK PEPPER
1/2 cup chopped SHALLOTS
1 small CARROT
1 stalk CELERY
2 cloves GARLIC, minced
2 cups dry RED WINE
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 sprig fresh THYME
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ROSEMARY
Preheat the oven to 425°
Rub the meat with course salt, pepper and 1 Tbs cocoa powder .
Transfer the meat to a rack set on a baking sheet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 140° for medium-rare, about 30 minutes, or to your desired degree of doneness. Remove it from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest until the sauce is nearly done before slicing.
While the meat cooks, make the sauce.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, Add the diced shallots, carrot and celery until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for a couple minutes more. Add the red wine and broth and stir in the tomato paste. Add the bay leaf and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 40 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a smaller pan. Stir in the cocoa and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Serve on the side with the sliced tenderloin. The beef roast was perfect (but that is hard to ruin unless you over cook it) . . . the sauce gave an interesting flavor. Subtle chocolate ~ perfect! It was great with some rosemary roasted potatoes.
Join us for the ride on Facebook and our blog Flavors.

Happy Cooking y'all~

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Traveling Tuesdays ~ la Dolce Vita

I am in Travel planning mode ~ my favorite time of the year!
We are planning our Great Escape in May.
I've been looking over hotels and have decided to go back to what I know. Residenza Canali is my favorite hotel in Rome. It is small and the location can't be beat. It is only one block from the Fabulous Piazza Navonna!
The only draw back is this flight of stairs . . . but I am counting on Paulo to carry my suitcase.
Every trip after that . . . I will be walking off another scoop of gelato from my favorite shop, Gelateria del Teatro.
~ and an afternoon of hanging in the neighborhood.
Enjoying la Dolce Vita~

Share your favorite travel spots.
Y'all enjoy the ride~

Saturday, January 21, 2012

PhotoHunt ~ Bliss

The PhotoHunt for this week is 'Bliss'
This is not a great photo . . .
But I remember the moment. ~and it was bliss !
Check for all the other Blisses on The Saturday PhotoHunt
Happy Hunting y'all~

Friday, January 20, 2012

What to do with leftover roasted beets?

Y'all saw my post yesterday on Roasting beets. I was trying to decide what to do with the left-over beets (did I mention that Bill is not a fan of Beets either?)
If you love Beets you will love this colorful risotto.
Beet Risotto
2 medium size beets, roasted
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup Arborio rice
1 cup red wine
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup parmigiano
3 tablespoons butter
Using cooled roasted beets, place in a blender or food processor along with 1 1/4 cups of stock and blend together. Stir into a saucepan with the remaining stock and bring to a simmer. In the Risotto pan, add oil, heat over medium heat. Add the rice to the oil and toast it for a couple minutes. Deglaze with the red wine. Slowly add the beet puree to the rice. Allow to cook down, then slowly add another ladle, until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the cheese and butter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
My risotto of course also had a citrus/fennel flavor, and was AmAzIng! You could use canned beets and puree them down just the same.
If you hate beets. . . you will hate this too.
Y'all enjoy~

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Flavors... Beets

By now y'all know that the flavor of the week is Beets. I think beets are one of those like-it-or-not foods.
I fall into the like-it crowd!
They have a rustic sweet flavor that is only enhanced by Roasting. I have added suggested flavors ~ Citrus, salt and creamy cheese. Citrus Roasted Beets with Fennel
2 cloves GARLIC
1tsp THYME
1/4 teaspoon SALT
1/4 teaspoon ground PEPPER
1/3 cup OLIVE OIL
3 fresh beets
1 bulb FENNEL
Peel the beets and slice into sections. Toss with zest of 2 oranges and a splash of olive oil. Roast at 400° 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice fennel, add to beets and roast for another 10 minutes.
Stir together the crushed garlic, lemon juice, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk the olive oil into the vinegar mixture until it is smooth. Set the vinaigrette aside.
Gently toss the warm roasted beets, and sliced fennel with the vinaigrette. Serve the roasted beets and fennel over a bed of spinach, sprinkle with goat cheese.
This is a fresh salad that is best served when the roasted beets are still warm. The goat cheese melts over the beets and makes a creamy sauce.
These roasted beets can also be served just as they are. . . or made into a Beet Risotto for tomorrow night.
Join us for the ride on Facebook and our blog Flavors.

Happy Cooking y'all~

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Traveling Tuesdays ~ Peek at Pisa

I was going through files of old photos and found these of Pisa, Italy. We had flown in from London and just made a quick stop in town for lunch.
~and, of course, pictures! Everyone knows about the leaning tower of Pisa . . . which really does lean! It is actually a bell tower, part of the beautiful Piazza Miracoli.
I guess the miracle is that after some 840 years, it is still standing.
The Bell Tower was begun in 1173, and started leaning soon after.
100 years later more layers were added. . . taller on one side than the other to compensate for the lean.
The most recent efforts have been to preserve the lean . . . and in fact tourism in Pisa. Every one who visits has to take the customary photo holding up the tower.
A Beautiful sight to see ~ once.
Now . . . let's see where everyone else is traveling this tuesday.

Y'all enjoy the ride~

Saturday, January 14, 2012

PhotoHunt ~ Circular

The PhotoHunt for this week is 'Circular'
Which is exactly what you do when crocheting a baby bonnet. Double crochets in a circular pattern until satisfied. That is pretty easy ~ and pretty cute!
Check for all the other Circles on The Saturday PhotoHunt

Happy Hunting y'all~

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Flavors... Winter Squash

Y'all know that this week we are exploring Winter Squash. Well . . . in the South, we know there there is one kind of squash. It's yellow and we can grow it like kudzo in the summer. The idea of Winter Squash is a little strange.
Strange . . . I guess I am.
I love Butternut squash ~ The Flavor Bible suggests flavors such as vanilla and thyme. I decided to try this in a Risotto. I have a Bourbon Vanilla that might work perfectly.
Butternut Squash Risotto with Vanilla
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups peeled cubed butternut squash
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup WHITE WINE
1/2 cup freshly grated PARMESAN
1/2 tsp SALT
2 Tbs fresh THYME
In a medium saucepan, warm the broth with Vanilla over medium-high heat. When the broth comes to a simmer reduce the heat to low. Add the diced butternut squash and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Turn down the heat and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a Risotto pot, add olive oil and saute the onion until tender but not brown. Add the rice and stir once or twice. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Slowly cook the risotto by adding 1 ladle of the simmering broth and stir then cover. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1 ladle at a time, allowing each addition to of the broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Turn off the heat. Briskly stir in the remaining butternut squash, Parmesan, the butter, and salt if needed. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and sprinkle with fresh thyme.
I thought the flavors complimented nicely . . . Chef Rob was not convinced. Bill . . . well, he will wait till summer for some real squash.
Join us for the ride on Facebook and our blog Flavors.
Happy Cooking y'all~

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Do you Pintrest ?

That is all I need.
Just one more thing to pin me to this laptop. (Photo lifted from Google ~of course)
Pinterest is like thumbing through a magazine ~ without having to read any of the articles. I am fascinated.
I figured out how to put a 'pin it' logo on my side bar. Now I can pin my favorite pictures and recipes. . . or you can. (another photo lifted from Google) ~here I am.
Just one more thing~

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Traveling Tuesdays ~ Firenze

These are photos from a little traveling I did in 2008 . . .
but then~Florence is always the same ~
Just as beautiful, just as alive, just as welcoming ~
Care to join me for a glass of Vino at my favorite Za-Za's ?

Come join me for another Traveling Tuesday blog hop!
Y'all enjoy the ride~

Monday, January 09, 2012

Blue Monday ~ it's a puffs kind of day

This is my favorite blue today ~
Someone suggested Chocolate and lots of Wine . . . if that worked,
I never would have cought this cold!

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

Saturday, January 07, 2012

PhotoHunt ~ Bling

The PhotoHunt for this week is 'Bling'
How is this for a little 'Alabama Bling' ?The actual bling comes from hundreds of bottle tops . . . Probably collected from one BIG football weekend.

This week is the biggest ~ Roll Tide!

Check for all the other Bling on The Saturday PhotoHunt
Happy Hunting y'all~

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Flavors ~ Oysters

By now, y'all know that the 'flavor' for the week is oysters . . . perfect timing, since this is januaRy and it happens to be New Year's ! The flavor suggestions all come from The Flavor Bible. Along with Oysters, the recommend flavors include . . . lime, horseradish, WINE and Champagne(among others). Perfection!
This 'recipe' is as much a process as anything. Please follow along closely.
Oysters with Pearls
First . . . a trip to Whole Foods to find the freshest local gulf oysters. Now plan to have friends over for a New Year's shuckin' party.
Mince horseradish with vinegar and process to a fine pulp. Place tiny rounded scoops in a freezer. Slice limes. Get out the garden gloves and shuckin' knife. Pour the wine! Perfection!
Join us for the ride on Facebook and our blog Flavors.

Happy Cooking y'all~
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