Cooking in the Florida Heat

Cooking in the Florida Heat
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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Yummy Salsa!


On Memorial Day weekend 2 years ago I was at the South Georgia Motorsports Park in Valdosta, Georgia with my husband and our friends. Hubs was drag racing our 74' Dodge Challenger in the PRO class. It was hot. When I say hot, I mean hotter than hell. There was no getting away from the extreme heat that weekend and it's the last time I've gone to Georgia for any racing. We were set up for barbecuing that weekend which in hindsight just made the extreme heat worse. We each brought our specialty to cook for the group and made one large picnic out of all the food and let me tell you, it was delicious! These folks know how to cook! Our friend Georgia brought a salsa recipe that was served with corn scoops and from that moment on I was hooked! I've changed the recipe to suit our tastes and it's delicious. It's one of those things you really should make the day before to get full benefit of all the flavors but to be honest, we're lucky if it makes it past 30 minutes before it's mostly gone. ♥



Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hand Made White Bread


I acquired this recipe from a friend many years ago and have made it many times over the years. When a co-worker told me she's never had fresh baked homemade bread I knew this would be the recipe I'd make for her. It's such an easy recipe to make and bake. If you’ve never made a loaf of bread but really want to try it, this is the recipe for you. There are only five simple ingredients and the instructions are super simple too! And when you see the results of your efforts, you’ll be so happy you tried it too! When it comes to baking anything I’ll always give the same advice, make sure your ingredients are fresh or still in a use by date. Ready? Let’s get started!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lemon Honey



Fresh raw honey is a favorite in our home. I stir it into coffee and tea. I drizzle it on top of my homemade yogurt. And you'll find it in most of my sweet recipes, too. Raw honey can have a delicate floral aroma and flavor or a distinctively bold one. This will differ depending on the nectar source of the flowers they visited. There are so many things that can cause the color, scent and flavor to differ in varietal honey. And though it's delicious as is, I love adding flavor to an already perfect food.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Easy Chicken Parmesan


If you walked into my home right now you'd know that Italian food is on the menu for dinner. The scent of my italian seasoning combination mixed with sweet, roasted tomatoes, garlic and parmesan cheese permeate the air. This is comfort food to me. Bring a little comfort into your home ♥

Friday, January 27, 2012

Marinated Chicken Skewers

One of the many wonderful benefits of living in Florida is the ability to grill outdoors in the winter. Though we had rain early this morning, as the day progressed it became a gorgeous day with temperatures hitting around 72°F with the sun shining! All in all, it was a gorgeous January day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Homemade Vanilla-Honey Butter!


Vanilla-Honey Butter
When I was a very young child I remember the milk man delivering fresh milk to us in glass bottles. Back then there was no such thing as day care. Most mother's stayed home and raised their children. Fresh vegetables and casseroles were typical for dinner along with a dinner roll and real butter. Ok, so you've figured out that I've passed the half century mark a while ago. There is a point to this, I promise. During my lifetime I've seen Mother's go off to work and real food be replaced with processed foods all in the name of convenience. All of a sudden butter was the enemy and you should only eat margarine. Then fat wasn't good for you and you should eat low fat only. Imagine knowing that almost an entire lifetime was spent eating the wrong foods. Why? Because they made a mistake.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Homemade Yogurt

Cranberry jam in yogurt

I always thought yogurt was too complicated to consider making. And then I learned how and found out that it's very easy to make and it doesn't take any fancy gadgets though if you have them, use them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Zesty Cocktail Sauce!


Cocktail sauce may not be the first condiment that comes to mind, but you have to admit that it gives that certain something extra to fish and shrimp. And this recipe promises to have each vibrant flavor dance across your tongue in a happy dance of glee!

Honey-Pineapple Teriyaki Glaze


I love wings! Hot wings! Teriyaki wings! Breaded or Buffalo - Wings Wings Wings! And they're so quick to throw together for the playoff games. For me, it's all about the glaze, the sauce, the sticky fingers that just begged to be licked. That brings me to my all time favorite glaze. This can be used as a marinade as well as a sauce for chicken, fish, pork and even stir-fry!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Gluten Free Sunflower Seed Bread

This is a grain free/gluten free bread. It is a smaller loaf and more dense than other bread. The amount of liquid in the loaf keeps it moist and delicious and as you can see, it's got pretty decent crumb. If you're not a fan of coconut and have never used coconut oil let me assure you that this loaf doesn't have an overpowering coconut taste. (I'm not a coconut fan and I love this bread)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Seafood Quiche


This recipe is the one I get asked to make the most.  It’s so delicious and comforting. When I make seafood quiche, I make a minimum of 4 pies at once. They freeze wonderfully and thaw quickly.  And it’s versatile and perfectly suited for any meal of the day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Salted Vanilla-Caramel, a Pot de Crème

Heaven. On. A. Spoon.

I wish I knew what's come over me! All I think about are desserts! The ideas keep coming to me throughout the day, and again as I lay in bed at night. I don't count sheep, I count tiny cakes filled with scrumptious fillings. There are Pot de Crème fairies dancing around me! Outrageous I say! Ahhh, and oh so delicious. Really.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies


I often hear from people who say they can't bake, that nothing they ever bake comes out well. If this is you, take a good look at the dates on your ingredients. As a general rule of thumb, flour and baking powder, baking soda and spices etc. have a one or two year shelf life. So if you think it's been in your cupboard longer than that, throw it out and start with fresh ingredients. I make it a point to toss out the old at the beginning of each December so I know it's fresh until next December, just in time for my baking spree!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Putting Up Fresh Vegetables: Hot Pickled Okra



Recently I was given a copy of the Farm to Fork cookbook by Emeril Lagasse. This book is especially dear to me because it came to me at a time when I'm doing just that, buying from local farmers to put on our table, some by way of my pantry.

It's been a goal of mine to feed our family healthy unprocessed food. If any processing is going to happen, I'm going to be the one processing it using only natural ingredients. It just makes sense to me. Besides, I enjoy it!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Putting Up Fresh Vegetables: Tomatoes

Container Garden
We are blessed to have such a long growing season in Florida. I'm still getting tomatoes and hot peppers from my garden, both my container garden and those in the ground! As the cooler air comes through I know that if I'm going to get some fresh veggies put up, I'd better do it now. Along with my homegrown produce, we purchased other vegetables from the local farmer's market as well. So far, I've washed, blanched, stewed, chopped, peeled, chilled in ice water, vacuum packed, pressure canned, water bathed, pickled or frozen: 35 lbs of tomatoes, 15 lbs of zucchini, 15 lbs of okra and 22 lbs of asparagus. My fingers are wrinkled like prunes and I know I looked a little wild there for a few days!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Vanilla Bean Oil


Anytime you need a drizzle of oil on a pan or if you need a tablespoon of oil for a recipe, why not use flavored oil?

My kitchen is brimming with specialty oils, all homemade, each of which I use for different recipes. I’ve got basil oil, garlic oil, green onion oil and hot pepper oil.* The possibilities are as endless as your imagination and palate. You can cook with them or drizzle on a salad.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Vanilla Honey


I've lived in Florida since I was eight years old. We grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and as an adult, I moved with my Husband to the Jacksonville area with our two sons. For the first time in a very long time I got to experience a change in seasons. I was so ready for what I consider a real winter, or at least, the closest I'd get to one while living in Florida! Cold air, fireplace burning and trees, lots and lots of trees that had nothing in common with the palm trees I grew up with! I just knew that I'd get a white Christmas! That move was in 1992 just after hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Vanilla Velvet, A Pot de Crème ™


Of all the flavors in the world, the scent of vanilla brings hearth and home to me immediately. My earliest memories are of warm sweet food my Grandmother would bake for me from vanilla crepes to homemade blueberry pie. It’s such a versatile flavor. It can be used in everything, sweet and savory alike. It’s the prominent scent in my favorite perfume. The fruit of an orchid plant, vanilla is the second most expensive spice to make because growing vanilla seed pods is labor-intensive. So, the next time you pull your bottle of vanilla from your cupboard, pay respect to it by creating a wonderful and aromatic memory to share with those you love.
A Pot de Crème is very rich and thick. This dessert is delicious and elegant, perfect for your Holiday gathering. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy Birthday to Daisy, the kitchen queen!


This is my baby girl, Daisy who is celebrating her 2nd birthday today.

My little gal weighs in at 4 1/2 lbs and is a long coat Chihuahua who in this photo is wrapped up in her doggie bed looking like a movie star!

She is so much a part of our hearts and very much a part of my kitchen. Not to be left out of anything, when I'm cooking she's begging! When I ignore her begging glances and little piggy grunts she heads over to her bowl and starts pushing it across the kitchen floor until it bumps into my foot.

If I'm in the kitchen cleaning up after a meal she will bring her stuffed animal toys and put them on top of my feet trying to distract me so I can play with her.

I wish everyone a loving pet to warm their hearts and to fill their life with love and laughter.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Raspberry Sorbet


My sister Judy says that I'm the little devil on her shoulder whispering in her ear that she should eat this. And this. And that! Guilty as charged! I love dessert! And when it's tart and sweet at the same time like this raspberry sorbet, I'll shout it out loud! The flavors are so fresh and vibrant you'll want to make it over and over for your family and friends.

Fajitas!!!!



Who doesn’t love them? They are so warm and tender and full of flavor.  You can add or change out almost any of the ingredients to get a new and exciting flavor and texture.
I spent several years in southern California when I was a child. We were fortunate when Lupé came to help our family when Mother had back surgery. She gave us a love of Mexican food and its vibrant spices which was our first experience with international cuisine. And even though this is a Tex-Mex version, I fondly recall the wonderful meals she prepared for us.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake


Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake
If you're looking for a fresh coffee cake that showcases plump and delicious blueberries, you'll want to give this a go. Perfectly scrumptious and so easy to make, you'll find yourself making this treat over and over! Consider pairing it with some wonderful Vanilla-Honey Butter

Friday, May 13, 2011

Almond Puff Pastry Loaf



A warm puff pastry is just the trick for breakfast or brunch or in the case of my husband, dessert! This is a textural delight! Buttery, tender, flaky and then with the topping it’s tangy, nutty and rich. You can go sugar free if you eliminate the icing and let the jam be the sweetness on top! So delicious! Give it a try. It’s so worth your time to make. Enjoy!
Almond Puff Pastry Loaf

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Condensed Chicken Stock Soup


I prefer to have fresh Chicken and Vegetable Stock in my refrigerator at all times. I use them in a variety of dishes such as soups, stews and even for boiling my homemade noodles or rice in. The extra flavor it imparts to whatever you’re using it in is fabulous! You can always add what you like and not use what you don’t like in stocks to make the flavor your own. Although I sometimes make clear stocks, this one is thick and rich and loaded with vegetables and is a condensed stock that is meant to be diluted with water or wine or both before adding it to your recipe!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Orange Glazed Pear Pecan Breakfast Bread


Orange-Glazed Pear-Pecan Breakfast Bread
I’ve been so busy I didn’t notice that I had pears that needed to be used, and soon! The first thing that came to mind was bread… mmmmm….fresh, warm, moist, glazed bread! Perfect with a poached egg, a cup of orange juice and hot coffee. This is so easy to create and you can do it in your food processor.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Crème De Menthe Double Dutch Chocolate Cake with Mint Filling


If you love Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies, Fannie Mae French Chocolate Mint candies or Andes Chocolate Mint Candies then you will absolutely adore this cake! It's so rich and delicious and it melts in your mouth. When I posted this recipe my family came running because they knew what was in the kitchen and I've got to tell you it did not last long!

Sophisticated Southern Grits



If you're married to a Southern man you've most likely made grits for him. Grits don't really have any flavor and therefore no real taste on their own. In the south, it's typical to see them drowned in butter, salt and pepper. My husband takes that a step further and plops two eggs over easy on top and cuts them into his grits making them even runnier with the egg yolk. That is not something I want to see first thing in the morning.