Thursday, April 28, 2011

Strawberry Season is Here!

Easter reminds me of New life!

As Robert Flatt quoted "The resurrection gives my life meaning & direction & the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances". So many great things happen in the Springtime, Runnuculus & Daffodils are in bloom, the birds chirping,and the choices in produce is phenomenal this time of season. But most of all ... Strawberry Season! I LOVE STRAWBERRIES! So I'm sure you'll see in the future more on this.

For our Easter meal, we had the traditional Easter Ham ... I wanted to do something different but the budget after tax season just didn't allow it. Thankful my folks contributed the Ham this year and I got the fun part of cooking it! I'm so blessed that I don't have to make the whole meal this time. Everyone contributed in!

I made Glazed Ham with Pineapple Mustard Sauce. I love this recipe! It has pineapple juice, that you baste with and make a mustard sauce that compliments it so well. It has one of my FAVORITE Herbs in it too! Fresh Thyme from my greenhouse window. I used a combination of French Thyme and English Thyme. Hmmmm ... love the smell of fresh Thyme. The aroma just fills the air. Another one of my favorites is Dijon Mustard, you can do so much with this ingredient!

My Cousin Diane, brought fresh cooked Asparagus with a Dijon Mustard Maple sauce as one of our side dishes too!Amazing how we can be so in-sync without even knowing the theme! Thanks Diane:)

For starters, I made a new one for my repertoire, a Sweet Basil Cheesecake. Those of us that love Basil,loved it. Those who don't,didn't. It uses alot of basil that's for sure. So I had to buy a 2 . 5oz. package, for my Basil isn't doing well this year. Such a sad day.

My Mom made the Classic Green Bean Bake using French Style cut green beans,she also brought a new recipe she tried! Note: she's always told me NOT to try new recipes on Holidays or on people, but of course, I have not listened to this! So proud of you Mom !:) She made Mashed sweet potatoes that you cook in heavy cream and made a Maple Butter to smear over it. Very tasty !

My daughter Dana and her friend Krystal made one of our Favorite potato dishes. It was great to see them working in my kitchen. Such fun girls! Oh how I miss the chatter and the giggles of these my girls and my adoptive daughters too!
My daughter Dana and friend Krystal

For dessert, I wanted to relax and enjoy this day. So I pulled out my great resources of Fresh and Easy's Chocolate Cake. So decadent! It's like a 5 star restaurant dessert right out of my freezer! and just the right size for our family of 10.

But don't think I stopped there ... I made a Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy, another Favorite of ours and so easy! You'll see it comes from my trusty source Southern Living magazine, I feel in love with when we moved to Arkansas and I've loved ever since! I have the whole series of Annuals (thanks to a generous friend) in my cookbook cupboard picture that I use for by Facebook Stepping back in time with My Cherished Cookbooks blog picture.

After all these years of going to Easter services, we went to our 7 am service this year. Mind you I'm not a morning person naturally ... I'm a wanna be though! Did you know, when you get up this early, you can get so much done throughout the day? AWESOME! So with my extra time, I filled it up with making one of my recipes I wanted to try ... yes, Mom ... another time I didn't listen to you ... but I love you!:) Remember, I told you I'm a lover of Strawberries ... So I tried Strawberry Shortcake Cookies. Very yummy! like a cute little miniature strawberry shortcake in an almost bite-size for me. Well, I'm sure others put the whole thing in their mouth ... not mentioning names though! But you'll have to try this! It even surprised my daughter Dana, even though she was doubting when I was scooping them on to the cookie sheet. Krystal is my witness! Right Krystal, remember you have my back on this I did add more of the heavy cream though ... when I was mixing it you'll see but that was before Dana's comment on the dryness of it. They are really good when they are freshly baked. Dana suggested to serve them with a side of whipping cream. YUM! So make them the day you want to serve them, at least that's my opinion.Hope you all had a Blessed Easter. Enjoy!

Sweet Basil Cheesecake Recipe : Giada De Laurentiis : Food Network

Butter, for greasing the pan
1/2 cup (4 ounces) ricotta cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup (3 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
Pinch fine sea salt
1/2 packed cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Serving suggestion: assorted crackers
Special equipment: 4 1/2-inch diameter springform pan, about 2 1/2 inches tall
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 4 1/2-inch diameter springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan with a piece of heavy-duty foil.

Place the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and goat cheese in a food processor. Pulse until mixed. Add the sugar, egg, egg yolk, and salt and blend until smooth. Add the basil and pulse until incorporated. Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared pan. Place the pan in an 8-inch by 8-inch square baking dish. Pour enough hot water in the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden at the edges and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken (the cheesecake will become firm when chilled), about 50 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the springform pan from the baking dish and remove the foil. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan. Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving, about 30 minutes.

Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the cheesecake with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with assorted crackers.

Glazed Ham with Pineapple Mustard Sauce Recipe at

Vegetable oil for greasing pan
1 (8- to 10-pound) partially cooked smoked shank-end ham (preferably Cook's brand)
3 cups unsweetened pineapple juice (24 fl ounces)
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup Dijon mustard (7 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer

Garnish: sprigs of fresh thyme
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Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Oil a large roasting pan.

If ham comes wrapped in plastic, rinse ham and pat dry. Cut away and discard any thick skin with a sharp paring knife, leaving a 1-inch band around shank end, then cut away all but about an 1/8-inch layer of fat where possible. Put ham, cut side down, in roasting pan. Pour 3/4 cup pineapple juice around ham and cover pan tightly with foil, then bake 1 hour.

While ham is baking, combine sugar and remaining 2 1/4 cups pineapple juice in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart heavy saucepan and gently boil, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 3/4 cup, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer pineapple syrup to a bowl and cool 5 minutes. Whisk in mustard, salt, and pepper, then pour 1/2 cup into a small bowl and stir in thyme. Reserve remaining mustard mixture for serving.

Discard foil from pan and brush ham with thyme mustard mixture, then bake, basting with pan juices occasionally, until thermometer inserted into center of meat (do not touch bone) registers 145 to 150°F, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. If pan juices evaporate during baking, add 1/2 cup water. Transfer ham to a platter, discarding pan juices, and let stand, uncovered, 15 to 30 minutes before slicing. Serve ham with reserved mustard mixture on the side.
Cooks' notes:
·Pineapple mustard mixture, without thyme, can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
·Ham can be trimmed of skin and fat 8 hours ahead and chilled, its surface covered with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.

Hash Brown Potato Casserole- from The Southern Living Complete Do-Ahead Cookbook

1 medium onion,chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted (we use butter)
1 32-ounce package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 16-ounce carton sour cream
1 10 3/4 ounce can cream of celery soup, undiluted
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups corn flakes cereal, crushed (also 2 small boxes of trial/kid pack = 2cups)
Garnishes: tomato rose and fresh chives

Saute onion in butter until tender. Combine onion mixture, hash brown potatoes, and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl;stir well. Spoon potato mixture into a lightly greased 11x7x 11/2-inch baking dish.Top with crushed cereal.
TO STORE: Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.
TO SERVE: Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown. Garnish,if desired. Yield: 6 to 8 servings but this is very generous servings in our eyes!

Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy Recipe |

This candy will soften slightly while at room temperature.

*Note: I usGhiradelli chocolate (I'm a native Californian!)
 Ghirardelli Chocolate Company "Say Gear-ar-delly!"

1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
3 (4-oz.) bars bittersweet chocolate baking bars

3 (4-oz.) white chocolate baking bars
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt*

1. Place pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet.

2. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.

3. Line a 17- x 12-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Break each chocolate bar into 8 equal pieces. (You will have 48 pieces total.) Arrange in a checkerboard pattern in jelly-roll pan, alternating white and dark chocolate. (Pieces will touch.)

4. Bake at 225° for 5 minutes or just until chocolate is melted. Remove pan to a wire rack. Swirl chocolates into a marble pattern using a wooden pick. Sprinkle evenly with toasted pecans and salt.

5. Chill 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 month.

*3/4 tsp. kosher salt may be substituted.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars and Ghirardelli White Chocolate Baking Bars.

Southern Living OCTOBER 2007

Strawberry-Shortcake Cookies
Setting up of ingredients

Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl

 cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter

Stir in cream

I added a few more splashes of cream due to it was too dry for my taste :)

Had to get my hands in there to feel the consistency,always so fun!

then stir in strawberry mixture.I'm using my handmade spoon from India!
Thanks Rachel for giving my hubby the tip to bring home for me ! :)

Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop

 drop dough onto baking sheets  lined with parchment

spacing evenly apart

Sprinkle with sanding sugar

So yummy! Can't wait to try them!

bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes

Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. 

Cookies are best served immediately

Strawberry-Shortcake Cookies - Martha Stewart Recipes

These tender cookies are made with cream and studded with sweet strawberries for a portable version of a classic dessert.
Makes about 3 dozen


12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream + added more splashes :)
Sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.

Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon drop dough onto baking sheets  lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, and bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Cookies are best served immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.
Also saw inspiration for Strawberry Shortcake Cookies — {Sweetly} Serendipity


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Have a Blessed day & Enjoy! Sharon