Here you go! If you loved the photos you are going to go crazy over the flavors that combined to make each of these dishes something extraordinary. Let’s begin with the Socca.
Socca with Caramelized Onion, Mushrooms, Artichokes and Cashew Cheese
Socca is a light chick pea dough that is somewhere between a frittata and a thin pizza dough. We did not include the rosemary in the dough, but sauteed it with the caramelized onion and mushroom mixture. It was delicious!
1 cup chickpea flour
½ cup olive oil
1 ½ tbsp. minced rosemary
¾ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Whisk together flour, 2 tbsp. oil, 1 tbsp. rosemary, salt, and 1 cup water in a medium bowl until smooth; cover and let batter sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
Pour the mixture into a heavy cast iron skillet and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until the Socca is “set”, no liquid remains. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
2 sweet onions, we used Vidalia because they are in season, peeled, cut in half and then into thin slices
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 can of artichoke hearts, drained
Cashew Cheese mixture (go here to learn MiMi’s methods: http://www.leafycafe.com/)
To caramelize the onions, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and let them cook, stirring every few minutes until they are slightly caramelized. Add the mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of fresh, chopped rosemary leaves if desired. Top the cooked Socca with this mixture, cut into wedges and place a dollop of the Cashew “Cheese” mixture and a segment of artichoke heart on each piece.
Zucchini Carpaccio with Blackberries, Beets with Cashew Cream, Watercress and Pomegranate Vinaigrette
1 large zucchini
1 bunch fresh watercress
2 beets, peeled, steamed until just tender and thinly sliced
Cashew Cream (go to http://www.leafycafe.com/ to contact MiMi for her recipe)
1 box of fresh blueberries
Wash the zucchini well. Cut off the ends of the zucchini, leaving a flat surface. Take a sharp vegetable peeler or mandoline and slice lengthwise, making long, thin “ribbons”.
Wash the watercress and place on a serving platter. Sprinkle the blackberries over the top and then pile the zucchini ribbons in the middle.
Place a teaspoon of the cashew cream on one slice of beet and top with another slice. Place these around the edge of the watercress.
1/4 cup good pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
grey salt and coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon local honey
Whisk the juice and olive oil together with the seasonings and honey. The mixture will thicken slightly. Pour over the salad and serve. Note: we snipped fresh chives from my herb garden to sprinkle over the beets and add a bit of color. Growing your own herbs is so easy. I recommend it over the type you find in the store.
If you know Italian food you may be familiar with this recipe and its origins. I chose this because I knew that we would be doing a lot of cooking and I needed a main course that would be fine simmering a bit while the other courses were prepared. Not to be crude, but this can be translated to read “Whore’s Pasta”. The story, as it was told to me, is that these gracious ladies of the evening would start this sauce in the morning, go about their work and then have it ready to eat at the end of the day. If you have a better story, by all means share it…..please!
1 box Quinoa gluten free spaghetti
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup pitted chopped Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound organic roma tomatoes roasted (cut the tomatoes into thirds, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with grey salt and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours)
3/4 cup chopped organic, baby spinach
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, if desired.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic, parsley, olives, capers, oregano, red pepper and tomatoes. Saute for about five minutes. Add the spinach and saute until just wilted.
Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the tomato mixture. Serve in pasta bowls, sprinkled with parmesan cheese if desired.
Berry Tart with Coconut Whipped Cream
1 pint of blueberries, mashed slightly with a fork and mixed with 1 tablespoon of tapioca starch or corn starch to thicken
1 pint of strawberries, sliced
8 sheets of phyllo, thawed
1 can vegetable spray
1/4 cup organic sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 can Coconut Cream, frozen and thawed to separate the liquid (Note: save the liquid to use in a delicious smoothie)
Heat the oven to 400 degrees
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place one sheet of phyllo, folded in half on the parchment. Spray with vegetable spray and sprinkle with the sugar & cinnamon mixture
Repeat this method until all eight sheets of phyllo dough have been used.
Leaving an edge of 1 1/2 inches, place the blueberries on the top of the dough and place the strawberry slices over them. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture
Bake until the pastry is crisp and golden brown….about 20 minutes.
For the Coconut Cream, separate the solid cream from the liquid at the bottom of the can. Place the solid cream in a bowl and mix with a hand mixer or immersion blender fixed with a whisk attachment. Blend until thick and creamy adding 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract and a tablespoon of organic sugar. Spoon this over the top of each bowl as you serve the tart.
Any leftovers make a mighty fine breakfast.
In closing, I really enjoyed my time in the kitchen with MiMi McGee. She is full of creative ideas for healthy eating…..I learned so much. Please “Like” her “Leafy Cafe” facebook page and visit her website: http://www.leafycafe.com/ to learn more about what she is cooking, writing and promoting. She’ll be happy to share the recipes in this post with you when you contact her and you’ll make a great friend! MiMi is someone to follow, I have a feeling you may be hearing more of her on national television as she spreads her winning personality and approach to a delicious, healthy plant based diet! Here’s to you Chef MiMi and to many more cooking adventures together!
Now that the lazy days of summer time are here I’m officially on island time!
This is the time of year when life slows down a bit. My flower gardens are thriving. Our vegetable garden is beginning to bear fruit.
Late afternoons spent on the beach provide a peaceful time to relax and enjoy friends.
You never know what you may see there….is that horses I see in the horizon? Why yes, the tide was out and they were riding on the sand bar just off the coast!
Life is simpler in the summer. Although I suffer through the heat and humidity there is a feeling this time of year that cannot be found during the hustle and bustle of the school year.
It gives me time to breathe, to be grateful for this beautiful island I am so lucky to call my home and a time to regroup before another busy fall begins.
Life on an island can only be explained in one way……perfection.
In late spring and early summer magnificent Magnolia trees begin to blossom on the island. Their gigantic, rich cream colored blossoms appear like oversized cups, drinking in the warmth of the sun. When I was growing up in Texas, my Mother would float Magnolia blossoms in a large crystal bowl, placing it in the middle of our dining room table. They always seemed so elegant in my eyes, filling the room with their heady fragrance.
But there is much more to the Magnolia than mere decoration.
This tree has been in existence, in some form other other since before the appearance of bees on the planet.
In ancient China, only the Emperor could have a Magnolia tree. To be given a root from the Emperor’s tree signified that the recipient was receiving royal favor.
The Magnolia has many medicinal qualities as well. Chinese medicine uses the bark to keep the life force flowing effectively as well as to help with digestive problems. The dental community has taken recent interest in the Magnolia since it appears to prevent the formation of bacterial plaque.
To dream of Magnolia’s symbolizes beauty, grace and elegance as well as protection.
Magnolias symbolize nobility and perservance. They have weathered ice ages, the creation of mountain ranges as well as Continental drift, still rising to stand regally over nature. The state tree of Mississippi, and a symbol of strength and endurance throughout the South….long may they reign!
If you have followed my blog for anytime at all you know how much Mr. T. and I love New Orleans! We have family there, most noteworthy our granddaughter, Emmeline, of my children’s series fame. We are empty nesters, looking for a new adventure and we have finally found it. Apologies to any of my followers or close friends who have endured this process with us! BUT…drum roll…we are moving to New Orleans next week. To say we are excited would be an understatement.
Many of you are now familiar with Nancy Kirkpatrick who has been contributing her fabulous photography and posts over the past few weeks. Nancy will be writing as The Permanent Tourist…Living and Loving Coastal Georgia while I will be The Permanent Tourist….Living And Loving The Big Easy. This is a dream come true in so many ways for me!
I can now go wild marketing “Emmeline At Commander’s Palace”, which I am self-publishing after many trials and tribulations that have blocked the way until now. One thing I have learned through all of this….I have do things on my own or there is trouble. So….Three Dolphin Press, LLC is officially taking over and I’m thrilled to announce this! We will also be launching a podcast radio talk show that will feature interesting guests from all over the world when we get settled.
I’m reposting some of my favorites from my first months of blogging this week. I hope you’ll enjoy them, open your arms to welcome Nancy here on the Coast of Georgia and stay tuned for the debut of my first posts from our new home. Life is definitely an adventure. I’m ready for the ride! As Mary Engelbreit wrote on one of my favorite pieces by her “You’re Never Too Old To Be Who You Might Have Been!”.
Any place of history has stories that haunt and delight, that create mystery and raise questions about what really happened there. The Pink Chapel, located at the north end of St. Simons Island is no exception.
Hair raising accounts of devil worship and slaves being beaten at the doors of the chapel have been recounted for years.
But the true story is a sad one. One of families pitted against one another. Harsh words and misunderstandings that led to the death of one man, John Wylly, at the young age of 32. An obelisk marks his final resting place in the cemetery at Christ Church.
The chapel was originally built on the Westpoint Plantation by William Hazzard, whose brother, Thomas, fatally shot John Wylly over a property dispute. Prior to the event, the Hazzard family worshiped at the famous Christ Church. But they no longer felt comfortable attending services there after Wylly’s death and Hazzard’s subsequent acquittal.
The pink color of the building, rumored to have been caused by blood from beaten slaves, turned out to be caused by lichen which covered the tabby building giving it a pink cast.
The red tile roof still graces the top of the building, the pink color has long since vanished due to restoration work done to save the structure. A lone cross sits atop the roof, pointing toward the sky.
Deer now wander the property and tourists visit to feel the chill one inevitably experiences when walking on historical ground. Spanish moss drapes over huge oak limbs, swaying in a gentle Spring breeze, sending a shiver up your spine as you approach the chain link fence that now surrounds the little chapel. The original doors have long since gone, replaced by modern ones. Haunted or not, ones mind can wander a bit and imagine it is.
The Pink Chapel is a reminder that people need a place to worship, a place to take their cares and have their spirits healed.
We’re going Italian today! It’s hard to beat great Italian food. I’m one of those make it from scratch, never use sauce out of a jar, well, almost never, kind of cooks. This is one of my favorite “comfort” meals. We all need one now and then!
Ice Cold Peroni Beer
Pan Fried Ravioli with Sicilian Dipping Sauce
Pork Chops Marsala
Angel Hair Pasta
Fresh Plum Tart
When I eat Japanese food I like to drink Kirin, Chinese calls for TsingTao, soooooo, Italian has to have Peroni! I’m not a big beer drinker, but there are certain foods that just cry out for the crisp, cold flavor of beer. Peroni is the perfect accompaniment to today’s appetizer!
Pan Fried Ravioli with Sicilian Dipping Sauce
These are super easy to make and they always get applause. Be sure to drain the ravioli well on paper toweling before serving.
1 package wonton wrappers
1 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1/4 chopped, fresh basil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Mix the cheeses and herbs together. Take one wrapper, top with a spoonful of cheese mixture and then with another wrapper. Moisten the edges and crimp with a pastry wheel if you desire. Heat 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil in a small saute pan and add “ravioli”, one at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle the finished ravioli’s with parmesan cheese and garnish with a fresh basil sprig.
Sicilian Dipping Sauce
1 cup finely chopped, plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Mix all ingredients and let stand at room temperature for up to one hour. Serve in a bowl on a platter surrounded with the ravioli.
Pork Chops Marsala
4 bone in pork chops
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup marsala wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon raw sugar
sea salt and pepper to taste
Salt and pepper the chops. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the chops and brown on both sides, about three minutes each. Remove the chops and add the marsala to the pan, then the garlic and shallot. Place the chops back in the pan and add the chicken broth. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Remove the cover and sprinkle the chops with the raw sugar, spooning the sauce over them and allowing to simmer on very low heat for another five minutes. Add the capers and sage leaves to the sauce. Serve with the pasta, spooning plenty of sauce over both.
Some say this is an acquired, but I find myself craving it almost anytime. Broccoli Rapini has a slightly bitter taste. You’ll want to find it in peak season, usually the end of winter to beginning of spring. Wash it well and chop the leaves and part of the stem. Saute the greens in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until tender, about 10 minutes on low heat. Add two cloves of garlic, thinly sliced, and saute for two more minutes. Season with sea salt and serve. Note: This is delicious as a light lunch served with Sicilian Salsa and good crusty bread…..and a Peroni, of course!
Fresh Plum Tart
I always give credit where credit is due. Ina Garten always manages to provide some of my best recipes. AND, you can order the book if you want! Delicious!
Photo: James Merrell
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), diced
1 egg yolk
2 pounds firm, ripe Italian prune plums, pitted and quartered lengthwise
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the flour, walnuts, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and the egg yolk. Mix, either by hand or with an electric mixer, until crumbly.
Press 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture in an even layer into the bottom of a 9 1/2-inch springform or tart pan. Arrange the plums in the pan, skin-side down, to form a flower pattern; begin at the outside and work your way in.
Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture evenly over the plums. Bake the tart for 40 to 50 minutes, or until it’s lightly browned and the plum juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and transfer the tart to a flat plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Just south of Saint Simons Island is another charming place, Jekyll Island. Known for the summer cottages that still remain standing gracefully on the grounds, filled with their history as seasonal dwellings for some of the most well known and wealthiest family’s in the early 20th century.
What started out to be a hunting club after the end of the Civil War became the most exclusive social club in the United States. Names such as Pulitzer, Vanderbilt, Morgan and Hyde are just a few of the rich and famous who maintained membership in the club.
Many famous events took place at the Jekyll Island Club, including the first transcontinental telephone call placed by AT&T president Theodore Vail on January 25, 1915. J.P. Morgan was host to some of the financial world’s most influential members along with Senator Nelson Aldrich and the Assistant Secretary of State in 1907 after a virulent time on Wall Street caused a run on the banks. The team of financial wizards traveled to the island under assumed names to write The Aldrich Plan, which later became the basis for The Federal Reserve Act that established The Federal Reserve System.
Visitors to Jekyll Island can now tour the Club property and the summer cottages which once housed the families of wealthy financier’s from the Northeast. Trolley’s provide guided tours that enable guests to learn about the island’s rich history while walking in the steps of those who once inhabited these famous grounds. Family’s such as the Rockefeller’s passed the time during hot summer days taking part in the lavish splendor of this Southern playground.
The Jekyll Island Club Hotel now offers the finest in accomodations for the discerning traveler. Dine on five star cuisine in the Grand Dining Room or enjoy a lovely meal at the Crane Cottage, a short walk from the Hotel itself.
Crane Cottage is where Mr. T and I exchanged vows one cold winter day in front of a roaring fire with a private luncheon for our family afterward several years ago. Also on the hotel grounds is Cafe Solterra where you can enjoy a casual meal while sitting on the balcony that surrounds the inner courtyard.
This whole facility holds very special memories for me and my family. The beaches are close by and horseback riding is available if you want to take a ride on the beach. Bikes can be rented to see Jekyll the best way with shaded bike paths running around the entire island. There’s plenty of history, sightseeing and relaxing to be had. And you can take day trips to visit the other barrier islands in the area!
A trip to The Jekyll Island Club Hotel is a great idea for any couple or family wanting to experience nature and history in an atmosphere of turn of the century grandeur. A lovely pool awaits as well as golfing on three outstanding courses if that’s your sport of choice.
You’ll be in for a special treat when the sun begins to set on this historic jewel. Plan to order a cocktail and watch nature’s display from the westward facing porch…you’ll feel every muscle in your body relaxing as you take in the splendor!