Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fruit Tart - Blackberry Version

A local supermarket has been stocked with the most delicious blackberries for the past few weeks and I've been eating them like crazy. This morning, I decided to try something other than eating them straight, in smoothies or with my daily Greek yogurt. During my search, I stumbled upon a blackberry tart recipe on a blog called Eclectic Recipes. Just the sight of those luscious, juicy berries piled atop a cream cheesy bed with a shortcakey crust had me eager to recreate this lovely vision. I also loved the fact that Greek yogurt was incorporated into the recipe.

So I got to work and as I progressed, I KNEW I'd have a slice before I could assemble the berries on it. I was even more convinced to do so when I tasted the cream cheese mixture. Oh Em Gee!!! This tart is delicious!!!

Angelia, of Eclectic Recipes, entered this recipe into the Publix Berry Recipe Contest, which ended yesterday. If the judges taste buds are working...this one should be a winner!! Best wishes Angelia...you have my vote!

Just one note, the recipe includes salt and sugar; however, they aren't mentioned during the process, but I pulsed them with the flour and nuts. I'm sending this entry to Angelia, so she'll correct me if I'm mistaken. Also, I added a couple of tablespoons of sour cream and used pecans instead of walnuts, simply because I didn't have walnuts.

Oh yeah...please excuse my pitiful looking mint--it was here and I needed to add a bit of color. I'll have fresher mint next time, I hope.

If you're looking for a simple and delicious dessert, add this one to your arsenal. Thanks Angelia!!

Sheila Denise

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Icy Treats for Summer Heat - Popsicles

Although summer didn't officially begin until last Monday, here in Atlanta, we've been enjoying/suffering through 90+ degree temperatures for a few weeks. I took this shot on Friday afternoon. As one who's not a friend of the scorching heat, I've inhaled more cold liquid concoctions than I can count, but hydration is key, so if it's cold, I'm all over it.

While at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market yesterday, my foodie bud, smileyeats decided to brag and shared a photo via Twitter of a delicious looking Cucumber Mint popsicle he was gnawing on from Fresco Pops. He commented that is was quite tasty, his exact words were, "It was AWFULLY tasty - not too sweet and the cucumber was very cooling". I'll admit, that I immediately became envious...I wanted a popsicle too!!

So, I dashed to the kitchen to discover the only things I had on hand were a watermelon, a mango or two and several limes, so I decided to combine mango and lime. So I got to cutting, zesting and blending and voila--I had enough concoction for four popsicles! I took this photo on the patio in honor of the very spot I'd be in when I indulged in my goodies.

Well this afternoon, I was ready for my little taste test and let me tell you...this is the perfect combination for my jealous little tastebuds. Just the right amount of everything--mango, zest and juice.

This is the popsicle mold I used for making my icy treats. As you can see, the stick/drip holder is attached. You don't have to get all fancy-smancy--paper cups and popsicle sticks will do just fine, but regardless of how you choose to make them...MAKE THEM!!! The flavor combinations are absolutely endless. Juice, pureed fruit, a splash of tequila/rum/vodka, yogurt, pudding--you get the idea.

Happy summer y'all!

Sheila Denise

Monday, June 14, 2010

Kitchen Lifesavers

I've been meaning to blog about these two gadgets for quite some time now. I've owned them since before I began blogging and can't imagine life without them. Of course, I have SEVERAL more lifesavers, but these two are the stars of today's show.

First up is the Side Swipe Spatula Mixer Blade. Y'all this thing is the REAL DEAL. No more stopping to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. I'm the proud owner of a couple of Kitchen-Aid stand mixers and stopping to scrape the bowl just bothered me a wee tad. Well, the SSSMB put an end to all that. Oh man!! The little "fingers" constantly scrape the sides (and the funky bottom) of the bowl, while mixing the ingredients. If you're a Kitchen-Aid owner, please, please consider purchasing one of these. Please ensure that you order the proper blade for your particular KA mixer. Owners of other brands, please keep checking the SSSMB website as it states additional versions will be available Spring 2010 (which is now). I cannot SCREAM loudly enough about the SSSMB!!! Oh and here's a review from Cook's Illustrated.

My second lifesaver is the OXO Corn Stripper. Talk about turning a task into a breeze, this one does exactly that. I'm not sure how many of you have scraped corn off the cob for Southern Fried Corn, Corn Salsa, etc., but removing those kernels is a task that requires your undivided attention. This stripper just zips down the length of the cob leaving the beautiful kernels inside the little chamber. No more corn scrapers or knives!!! My use of recipes involving removing corn from the cob had increased dramatically since this baby entered my life. I promise you'll love this nifty little thing as much as I do.

Well, that's it for today. I'd love to hear about your lifesavers as well.

Sheila Denise

Monday, June 7, 2010

Turning 50

Today marks the 50th birthday of my late brother, Tony. 50, fifty, the Big Five-O...however you put it, he'd be half a century old. WOW!!!

I was talking with my other brother, Curt, a few days ago, and we were discussing Tony and wondering how Mother feels to have such "old" children. As the youngest, I was really referring to everyone BUT me. Nita & Curt are both pushing HARD on 60's door and I know I'll always be a "baby" in Mother's eyes. As a non-parent, I'm always amazed to see young-uns I've know from babyhood to adulthood, so I can only imagine how parents feel when their babies evolve into full-fledged grownups. I mean AARPers, seniors-shopping-on-discount-days and the likes. Mother happens to be the proud owner of some of these people and it simply boggles my mind.

As I thought about this entry last week, I wasn't sure which direction to take it--should I keep it serious or should I be as Tony was--silly as all get-out. After Facebooking with Alexander, the youngest of his three sons (Andre-oldest & Jamal-middle), I decided that silly would be the route to take. Since I tend to assign numbers to "The Nephews", Andre is #3, Jamal is #4 and Alexander is #5 (just for future reference if names aren't used).

I can hear Tony's distinctive "squiggle" as I type this--it's kinda hard to describe or duplicate his laugh, so the best I can do is blend a squeal with a giggle. It was one of those sounds you'd hear coming from him and you'd burst into laughter too (after you got over the shock of that sound actually coming from a boy). Mind you, the entire family is quite silly, so it doesn't take much to get us on the giggle train, but there was absolutely no way we could hear Tony squiggling and not join in. Don't you just love folks that make you laugh??

You know what?? I've decided that I won't turn this into a long story about Tony. I'm going to end it here and ask you to think about the person who possesses "that" laugh...you know, the one that throws you into your own little gigglefest and leaves no doubt that they are truly tickled from their toes to their nose. That's exactly what I'm doing today.

Happy Birthday T!!

Sheila Denise

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Flip It Again (by Guest Blogger SmileyEats)

Hey y'all. I have my VERY FIRST guest blogger!!! I'm sooooooooo excited that I can hardly contain myself! I had the honor of spending an afternoon with a very special foodie friend and we did a mini stroll from Star Provisions to Flip Burger Boutique on Howell Mill Road. Initially , our purpose was to attend a "biscuit tasting" at Star, but to our dismay, the biscuit lady had done run outta biscuits, so we "settled" for a quite tasty Maple Bacon Doughnut (similar to the photo below, but with larger chunks of bacon). Both being bacon lovers, we momentarily died and went to heaven...salty-sweet combination at it's finest. Our plan was for both of us to to blog about out excursion, but since he beat me to the punch, I asked if he'd be my guest blogger and he was gracious enough to accept. Isn't he a sweetheart?? Oh yeah, I'm the "someone" he mentions below. *giggle*

I must mention that I tweeted that we missed out on the biscuit tasting and received a nice apology from at Tim at Star Provisions, so all is well with the world after all.

1587 Howell Mill Road
Atlanta, GA 30318

Yes - the entire city is stuffed with burger joints. Yes, the foodierati are all voicing their "I'm so over it" disdain.

I don't care - I LIKE fancy burger joints.

After a quick trip to Star Provisions earlier in the day, a friend and I (someone I can always count on for a hey-let's-go-here-and-order-lots-to-taste meal) decided to head up Howell Mill and hit Flip Burger Boutique.

As I made mention earlier, we order quite a bit and then treat it sortof like a tasting menu - a little from here, a little from there. Today's choices were:

Fried Okra and Confit Duck Nuggets - the okra was good but a bit too salty and the duck nuggets were SPOT ON TASTY. Shredded duck, breaded, deep fried, served with blood orange dipping sauce (which had a bit of a kick to it).

The burgers - the Southern, the Butcher's Cut and the Thai Chicken - we both agreed the best of the three to be the Southern, with its layering of almost-pickled pickles, pimento cheese, green tomato ketchup and a deep fried patty, but we were torn on which burger ran 2nd and 3rd.

Both were really good - the Butcher's Cut, with its blue cheese and red wine jam was a bracing taste departure from the sweetness of the Southern. And the Thai Chicken patty (served between two iceberg lettuce leaves - pointless, IMO) was fresh and bright and had just the right amount of cilantro and vinegar.

Onion rings

Ok - so the onion rings were an afterthought brought on by watching the couple next to us eating theirs. They just looked so good - and were! VERY onion-ey. Light batter, I believe it was vodka batter or something. All in all a great ring.

Thank you Rodney for being my first!! ;-)

Sheila Denise

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Death of a Golden Girl

Rue McClanahan
February 21, 1934 – June 3, 2010

Sheila Denise