On The Radio

 

Lynda Dalton Gallagher of Art Downtown joined me on the radio show this week.  Listen in as we discuss Art Downtown and all things art related in Coastal Georgia.  We had a great time talking about the SoGlo Gallery and Theatre.

Finally Friday!

As we all scurry around getting ready for Christmas we still like to have a delicious dinner.  I keep up with several favorite blogs and stumbled over this recipe on “Table for Two”.  Holy Yum Chicken is easy and so yummy!  The recipe originated from the new “I Love Trader Joe’s” cook, available on Amazon.  Put some steamed broccoli or asparagus with this and jasmine rice as well.

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Holy Yum Chicken
Recipe type: Main Entree, Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients:
  • 1½ – 2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (most of the fat cut and discarded)
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard (must be Dijon mustard, no substitutes)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup (again, no substitutes. No fake Aunt Jemima stuff)
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar (seasoned or unseasoned)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. fresh rosemary for garnish
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 8×8″ oven-proof pan with 2 layers of tin foil.
  2. In small bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard, maple syrup, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
  3. Place the chicken thighs in the foil layered pan then pour the mixture on top of it. Turn the chicken around in the sauce to make sure it gets all coated.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let chicken sit for 5 minutes then transfer to a plate. Do NOT discard the liquid.
  6. Immediately after plating chicken, whisk in the 1 tbsp. of cornstarch into the liquid in the pan. You’ll create a nice, thick sauce to drizzle over your chicken. You need to do cornstarch mixing immediately because the liquid needs to be hot in order for it to thicken properly. If it’s still not thickening after 1 tbsp., you can add a little more.
  7. Sprinkle rosemary on top before serving.
  8. Serve with rice or potatoes or vegetables.
Notes:
If you like things more tangy, I would add 2 tbsp. of rice wine vinegar instead of 1 tbsp. I did this the second time I made this and it was a nice tangy kick with the sweetness that subdued it. If you like things on the sweeter side, keep it to 1 tbsp. of rice wine vinegar. Regardless, taste the sauce after mixing it together and adjust to taste. :)Source: I Love Trader Joe’s Cookbook

Mr. Music!

Okay….I confess….I have become a die hard, Michael Hulett fan!  Mr. T and I stumbled into Tipsy McSway’s a couple of Sundays ago and Michael was performing that evening.  This man has such soul and such PRESENCE, who wouldn’t love him.  Michael’s range of music, his beautiful falsetto voice, used as need, and his prowess with the saxophone is second to none that I know of.

I’m sharing his upcoming calendar with you today so you can hear him at his best!  He performs for the benefit of others all over our area.  This photo has him doing his thing at Golden Isles Hospice.  He’s like the gentle giant of soul….giving, giving and giving.

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Michael will be performing Sunday 6-9 at Sunbery Crab Co. In Sunbery.  December 23rd Ludichristmas at Tipsy McSways and December 24, Christmas Eve, ugly sweater contest and ramily get together with food wine and song from 6-9 pm. Ocean Lodge is where you’ll find Michael on Dec 26th from  7-10 pm.  For New Year’s Eve Michael will perform at Brunswick Country Club from 6-9 pm.

We heard Michael sing his rendition of “Ave Maria” a perfect choice for the Christmas Holidays.  Listen to his amazing voice as he sings this classic tribute to the Christmas story.

For My Girlfriends!

I featured a recipe in my Friday post last week for salmon in puff pastry.  As luck would have it, I went into my kitchen that morning already having made one extra trip to Harris Teeter for party goodies.  I got the puff pastry out to thaw thinking I was in good shape to begin preparing the dish.  I felt sure I still had pine nuts in a bag in the fridge….NOPE!  I did not want to make another trip to the store so I decided to improvise.  The result was a delicious Mediterranean recipe that I have been asked to share with my readers by all of my girlfriends who attended the party.  Thanks to Jan Carpenter for this picture!  This recipe can be a main course or, in this case, I cut it into pieces that could be handled as “finger food”.

salmon in puff pastry

Salmon in Puff Pastry

1 box of puff pastry, you’ll only use one sheet for this recipe

1 pound of salmon, skin removed

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot, peeled and finely minced

1 box or bag of organic baby spinach

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup golden raisins

sea salt and black pepper to taste

1 egg, lightly beaten

Thaw one sheet of puff pastry.  Lightly dust  a kitchen towel with a bit of flour and roll the thawed dough out to fit the length of the salmon.  Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the minced shallot and saute until just transparent.  Add the spinach and toss to mix the shallot with it.  Cover and allow to cook for about five minutes, the spinach should be wilted.  Add the almonds and raisins, mixing well.  Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.  With a pair of kitchen tongs, place the spinach mixture down the middle of the puff pastry, making sure to let all excess liquid drain back into the pan as you removed the spinach.  Place the salmon over the bed of wilted spinach and season with sea salt and pepper.  Bring the sides of the puff pastry together and pinch together to seal.  Be sure to crimp the ends of the pastry together as well.  Brush with the beaten egg and bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden and crisp.  Cut into serving pieces and place on a platter.  That’s it….simple and delicious!

The Weakly Post

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I interviewed local writer/blogger/entrepreneur, Bud Hearn, on the radio show a couple of weeks ago.  We mentioned his lively and entertaining blog posts that are written as “The Weakly Post”.  Mr. T and I read this past week’s post and laughed with delight through the entire thing.  I decided, with the permission of Bud, to share this with my readers today!  It’s funny, light hearted and filled with his wit!  I’ll be having him on the radio as a guest again soon!  In the meantime enjoy this holiday read!  And then go here to read more from Bud:  www.theweaklypost.com.

 

The Weakly Post

 

This Time of Year

 

Christmas begins earlier each year. It now kicks off around Labor Day.

 

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Somebody resurrected Burl Ives who woke singing in CVS about a Holly Jolly season. Legions of chocolate marshmallow Santas populate the aisles at Walmart. They keep company next with last year’s Easter bunnies. Walmart squeezes pennies.

 

Our household stoically refuses to buy into the early frenzy. We don’t budge until December bumps up on the refrig calendar and pictures of poinsettias and dollar-down mattresses dominate the newspaper inserts. Everybody’s selling something.

 

Last Sunday on the coast was bleak, cold, rainy and windy.  A perfect day to begin the tradition of Christmas preparation. Maybe it was the Advent sermon, the one about light coming into the world and how men loved darkness because their deeds were evil.

 

People react to sermons differently. Some people listen and are inspired. As for me, I tend to doze off and miss the punch line, but always wake up refreshed. Listen, women love darkness, too. It covers a multitude of evils, not to mention wrinkles and blemishes. Chew on that candy cane.

 

Anyway, a lady of antiquity in the pew in front kept humming Deck the Halls. It energized my Christmas spirit. She had a wicked smile and a heavy emphasis on Falalalalalalalala. It led me to believe she was remembering a time long ago. Maybe the Christmas when Santa slid down the chimney with his bag of gifts, anticipating more than milk and cookies. Whatever. Church is a safe place to air such memories.

 

On the way home we stopped into the vacant lot and bought a nice 8 foot Balsam fir tree. Two high school boys did the heavy lifting. One attempted to master the chain saw to square off the end. Unfortunately, the saw got away from him. The mechanical monster spun round and round on the ground in a bizarre rampage. It chewed up dirt as well as my tree before it headed on its own down the row of trees. The scene was surreal. We bought another tree.

 

We tied the Balsam on the roof of the car and headed home.  I felt like a member of the Joad clan en route from Oklahoma to California with a mattress strapped on top of the jalopy. Chevy Chase adopted this scene.

 

We dusted off the decorations boxes and unpacked elves, the candles and the lights. I unwrapped the manger scene, which after almost 50 years looks about as ragged as I suspect Joseph felt. The ninety and nine manger animals were out to pasture, lost sheep forever. Mary was missing four fingers, Joseph’s staff was broken and the angel’s feathers were falling out. Even the baby Jesus looked disgusted. Shelf lives are getting shorter.

 

The tree occupied a nice corner spot over the heat register, a hospice of sorts. It was the least we could do to insure its comfort, seeing as it was already on its last leg. I felt sorry for it, so my daughter and I clothed its nakedness with about five thousand tiny lights, remembering the sermon.

 

I like to name our Christmas trees after biblical characters.  This year its name is Amos. The name is translated from Hebrew, of course, which means literally ‘fire tower.’ It didn’t improve Amos’ disposition that Mac, our male Westie, found its vertical stature intimidating. While the challenge was enormous for him, he never failed to give it his best squirts. Amos is well-watered.

 

In a few hours the house looked festive, ready for whoever might be coming down the chimney in a couple of weeks. As the day closed, we turned down the lights and admired our handiwork. We poured ourselves some eggnog, spiked with a skosh of brandy. The gathering gloom began to close in. Our eyes got heavy.

 

Conversation in these reflective moments is sparse, lacking all evidence of intellectual profundity.

 

I say, “Beautiful, huh?” Silence.

 

Yes, beautiful,” she answers. More silence.

 

     “Our best tree ever,” I say.

 

Yes, it is,” she replies.

 

Lots of space for presents, huh?”  I’m ever hopeful.

 

Yes, seems so,” the reply.

 

And on and on with longer gaps in silence as conversation transcends into sleep, allowing visions of sugar plums to dance in our heads. Through the darkness Amos shone brightly.

 

**********

 

“….(And) The Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness overcommeth it not.”  Amen!

 

 

Bud Hearn

December 12, 2014

The Christmas Flower

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During the Christmas we see Poinsettia plants everywhere.  There bright red blooms are like messengers for this wonderful holiday season.  I did a bit of research into the plant to find out its origins and history.  For instance, did you know the poinsettia plant originated in Mexico and Central America?  The name Poinsettia came from the last name of a Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States minister to Mexico in the early 1800’s..

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Red is the traditional color of this seasonal plant.  Wikipedia shares this bit of history about Poinsettia:  “The plant’s association with Christmas began in 16th-century Mexico, where legend tells of a girl, commonly called Pepita or Maria, who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus‘ birthday and was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson blossoms sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias.”

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Poinsettias can also be found in pink, greenish white, orange and marbled colors.  They can be planted to create shrubbery that will continue to grow and bloom as they do in the desiduous soil of its native Mexico.

 Whatever the color you like, this flower brings color to a season that, otherwise, tends to be lacking in color. Leaves have fallen and gardens are resting for now as winter settles in over the next few weeks.  Yes, we are lucky here on St. Simons Island to have evergreen plants and shrubs in abundance.  But the splash of Poinsettia color is happy and bright for all to see and enjoy!  It is a reminder of this blessed season and its true meaning.

Simple Sundays

Each of us has a path we travel, whether near or far, finding it and following it is the challenge!  I love this video by Shaun Paul that I think you’ll enjoy hearing!  I love his music!  The title of this “Path to Somewhere” is especially appropriate as we journey through the holiday season and into a brand new year.  I always look forward to the new beginning of a new year and all that it offers.  Relax and listen as you begin your day and remember to always say “Thank You”!  This day is a gift….savor it, share it and have a wonderful time doing whatever brings you joy!

On The Radio

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Join me as I host another “Chef and the Wine Guy” with Tom Delaney and Mark Gagliano.  We’re talking about holiday food and spirits!  You won’t want to miss this show!

Finally Friday!

I have a great group of lady friends, all working professionals, who like to get together and kick back every month or so.  We meet at each other’s homes and pick a theme for the occasion.  Everyone makes a dish, brings a bottle of wine or whatever goes with their course and we have a great time.  Today is my day to host this group of dynamic women who enjoy great food…wine and fun.

I hate to let the cat out of the bag as to what I’m serving, but I’m sharing a couple of the recipes with you today!  Feel free to use these for your own holiday entertaining and ENJOY!

Roasted Apricots with Mascarpone Cheese and Blackberries

Caprese Mushrooms

Tuscan Salmon in Puff Pastry

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Roasted Apricots with Mascarpone Cheese and Blackberries

I use dried apricots for this recipe when they are not in season.  I like to put a bit of marsala wine into the roasting pan, place the apricot halves with a dollop of mascarpone cheese, topped with a blackberry into the pan and roast at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.  You want the cheese to a bit browned and bubbly for the best flavor.  These are easy and so yummy!

Caprese Stuffed Mushrooms | simplerootswellness.com

Caprese Mushrooms

2 dozen crimini mushrooms, stems removed

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup vegetable broth

1 ball mozzarella, shredded

1 bunch fresh basil

1 carton grape tomatoes

Clean the mushrooms and saute in olive oil for five minutes.  Add the broth and cover to steam for about five minutes.  Remove from the pan and stuff with mozzarella, top with julienned basil and chopped grape tomatoes.  Bake at 350 until browned and bubbly.  So delicious and very few carbs!  Great for holiday entertaining.

Salmon in Puff Pastry with Whipped Dijon Cream

Tuscan Salmon in Puff Pastry

1 side of fresh, wild salmon

1 bag fresh, organic baby spinach

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup pine nuts

sea salt and pepper to taste.

egg wash

1 package puff pastry, thawed

Take one piece of puff pastry, thawed, and roll out to fit the side of salmon.  You may have to use both pieces, depending on the size of the salmon.  Saute the spinach in olive oil until just wilted.  Add the minced garlic.  Place the spinach in the middle of the pastry, top with pine nuts and season with sea salt and pepper.  Place the salmon on top and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Bring the sides of the pastry together and crimp to seal.  Brush with egg wash and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Slice to serve and garnish with flat leaf parsley.

My Favorite Carol….

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” — Luke 2:8

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My favorite Christmas carol is, without doubt, Silent Night.  There is a quality to the song that has always soothed me and brought the true meaning of Christmas to mind.

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The song, written in 1816 by Josef Mohr, resulted from inspiration the writer of the lyrics received after listening to the Christmas story as written in the Bible books of Luke and Matthew.  Mohr took the longer route as he walked home after the Christmas play that evening.  He came to a place, overlooking the quiet village he called home, the words of a poem he wrote came back into his mind making him set them down on paper.  Mohr realized this might make a beautiful carol and approached his church’s organist, Franz Xaver Gruber, to complete the task.  The church organ, broken and unusable, led Gruber to use his guitar to compose the music we now know and love.  The carol was presented to the congregation that evening, loved by all.

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Today, the carol is sung in over 300 languages around the world at this time of year.   A simple poem, inspired the tune that continues to bring a special sense of peace to us each year as it is played.

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Here is a rendition I found that I particularly like.  It is purely instrumental, acoustic guitar, by artist Martin Tallstrom.  I like to think this is how the piece sounded when Gruber first composed it.

Enjoy this season with all of the possibilities it provides to give and share the magic we all experience through the eyes of a child.  That childlike wonder and anticipation is infectious…..let it shine in your life and be blessed.