Wish Upon A Dish: July 2014

July 31, 2014

Greek Lamb Gyros ♥ There's something sexy about food in an apron

When the cat's away the mouse eats lamb....huh, WHAT!?!?
Yes, lamb.

I always plan to test recipes that I want to eat when The Nudge is traveling. Then if they are really good (which the majority are), I put them on our dinner menu.

I had such a craving for Gyros lately. No, I didn't Jones about them, but I must have seen a Gyro truck on a food show and I realized it had been decades since I ate one and now I just had to have one. Since I did not want all the trouble of making a traditional shawarma (meat on a vertical rotisserie), I set out to see what other options there was.
Gyro meat is really easy to cook, so I bought a pound of ground lamb, tomatoes, mint, yogurt, cucumbers and na'an bread and got to work.

This was so simple. One skillet and a small amount of knife work...DONE
My kind of meal. I remember eating these some 20 years ago when I worked in my local mall. They were full of flavor, and, wrapped in foil, easy to eat. I am sure they used pieces of meat (chicken, beef and lamb) but it was the sauce that pulled it all together.

This is a great way to make a quick easy dinner that can be grabbed to eat on the go (like all our lives lately).
The meat could be cooked while you are cooking something else and then frozen. The Tzatziki will keep in the fridge for up 2 two weeks, which you will probably have to drain before using.

I did not have an actual recipe for the lamb, so I simply put together traditional Greek spices and flavors, simmering the meat until it was the consistency of a Sloppy Joe. Easy, peasy!
While the meat was becoming phenomenal, I made the Tzatziki sauce, chopped up a fresh tomato and red onion along with the fresh mint. The mint is important in this dish and can be found fresh in most supermarkets. I grow mine in a huge garden pot and it returns year after year.

The first time I made this for me, I bought na'an bread and heated it in the oven.
When I made it a few days later, again, for The Nudge, the na'an was sold out so I bought pocket-less pitas and I could not tell the difference.

It you have parchment paper, roll and wrap the pita like a diaper (foil works well too, just don't bite into it) and as you eat, pull the paper down until the food is gone. Shirt stays clean and no problem eating on the run. We love that, don't we?

I actually like the thin candy paper that comes pre-cut. One sheet makes two diapers.

Greek Lamb
Makes enough for 4 gyros
* 3/4 lb. ground lamb (or beef)
* 1/4 cup minced red onion
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon tomato paste
* 1 tsp. black pepper
* 1/4 cup red wine
* 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
* 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
* 1 tsp. dried oregano
* 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 1/2 teaspoon both dried mint and thyme leaves & 1 bay leaf

1. Saute the lamb until it is completely browned. Drain off all the fat & pat with a paper towel.
2. Add the lamb back to the skillet along with the onion, garlic, salt & tomato paste. Saute until the paste starts to brown.
3. Add the black pepper and the wine. Scrape up all the bits on the pan.
4. Add the remaining herbs and lemon juice. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes.
At this point it can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Tzatziki sauce is the cool and creamy sauce that usually is served as a condiment on Greek Gyro sandwiches. The recipe calls for the thicker, Greek Yogurt. If you can't find this type of yogurt, you can use plain, regular yogurt from the grocery store. But in order to get the sauce to the desired thicker consistency, you need to suspend the yogurt in a cheesecloth for a couple of hours to drain some of the water off.

If you don't mind it moderately runny, you can just make it as is and it is still delicious, just more messy.

Tzatziki Sauce - Greek Cucumber/Yogurt Sauce
Yield: 1 cup
* 1 cup Greek yogurt
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or juice of one lemon)
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 small (or half a large) cucumber, seeded and diced
* 1 teaspoon salt (for salting cucumbers)
* 2 teaspoons fresh mint (or more), chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon fresh dill, minced (optional)
* salt & freshly ground black pepper

Peel cucumbers and. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt (draws water out). Cover with a plate and sit something heavy on top. Let sit for 30 minute Drain well and wipe dry with a paper towel.
In food processor or blender, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, mint and/or dill, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir into yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed.

Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 (2 tablespoons)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 4.9
Calories from Fat 0
Total Fat 0.0
Saturated Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0mg
Sugars 0.5g
Total Carbohydrate 1.2g
Dietary Fiber 0.1g
Protein 0.1g

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July 28, 2014

Garlic-Walnut Flounder ♥ A no-cook sauce to keep you cool

I enjoyed the 28-day Meal Plan from EatingWell.com but I noticed something, they duplicated many ingredients and I believe that can get boring. While I am a lover of all fish, The Nudge likes the white fish species the best and when my supermarket had fresh caught local flounder on special and looked fresh and clean, it called my name, so I bought two nice sized fillets (3/4 lb).

At first I thought I would just sub out the fish, but the sauce for the salmon dish on the meal plan was for a grilled apricot-chili glaze. Not something I would want on flounder so I went looking for inspiration. I was tired of the lemon-wine-caper sauce and a brown butter sauce certainly was not the healthy fit into the spirit of the meal plan, so I opened my new Bobby Flay cookbook, Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction. I was sorry the show lasted one season but it was full of flavorful finishing sauces and I just had to buy the book. I knew I would find something unique in that book. He did not disappoint.

I have already made a few sauces but his Garlic-Walnut Sauce really hit my eye, not only would it be perfect with the flounder but with also with the roasted asparagus side.

I love sauces that require no cooking, no chopping and no special ingredients. If you agree, you should look into this cookbook. You can buy used ones in excellent condition through Amazon. I have perfect books that cost under $5.

OK, why did I choose a walnut sauce. Well, my new snack find is glazed walnuts and I have been throwing them into salads and pestos and even The Nudge likes them. They are oober healthy and perfect for Diabetics and now they will be the star of a 5 ingredient food processor gem. While healthy, someone NOT on a diet (I would love to meet that person), would adore this. Perfect for Diabetics, carb counters and fat fighters.

I know this sauce will make a few appearances at my summer table. It screams fresh fish and while Bobby grilled fresh sardines, next time I am going to try it on grilled trout and sub out the walnuts for almonds. Yummy!!

Garlic-Walnut Sauce
Makes 1 cup

* 1/4 cup EVOO
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 cup walnuts
* 3 cloves garlic
* Juice and zest of 1 lemon
* 1 cup parsley (optional, I did not want a green sauce)
* Salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil on the stove with the garlic cloves for 2-3 minutes until the garlic starts to brown. Remove to cool.
2. In the bowl of a processor, add the walnuts the lemon juice and zest and the parsley.
3. Pulse to mince the walnuts and add the olive oil. Pulse to puree. If the sauce is too thick, add the water.
I added 2 tablespoons to get a sauce that would drizzle easily.
4. Taste for seasonings and spoon over fish or vegetables.

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July 24, 2014

Tempura Fried Fish Flatbread Taco ♥ Say that 5x fast

I love the thought of a taco. Lots of condiments loaded on some kind of protein, wrapped in a tortilla.
They always look great in the pictures, on a plate.
I would love to see a video of someone actually eating a taco where all that goodness wrapped in a tortilla, stays in the tortilla and not fall on the plate.

Let's be honest here. Tacos are messy to eat.
For kids that means fun, for me that means eating a taco requires a fork. So I got to thinking.

Why not take all that wonderful food and pile it on a flat bread. Yes, I could fry a tortilla and make a tostado but I wanted the soft that a tortilla provides.

Right now, I am having a love affair with na'an bread and since it was a dinner for one, proved to be the perfect size. Now, what to top that with?
I was thinking crunchy, crisp pieces of cod, topped with a spicy corn salsa, a creamy lime crema and spicy guacamole. I did buy shredded cabbage but changed my mind at the last moment and made a slaw on the side.

This had to be the best combination of foods I have ever eaten. You can be sure I will be making this many times from now on.
Fresh corn has been available for about 1 week now and no, not from Jersey, yet. We have another month before I go crazy for local cobs, but the ones in my market are surprising hefty and very sweet.

If you can not get fresh corn, frozen is the way to go. I have a very simple recipe for my corn salsa and after you fry the fish, toss the oil and saute the corn. This is probably one of the easiest dinners to pull together and if you don't fry, just bake or grill the fish. I use less than an inch of oil in a nonstick pan and shallow fry thin slices of cod using a commercial tempura mix. It is a light coating that stays crisp for as long as it takes to finish dinner.

Since we do not eat guacamole as often as most, I buy the boxed Wholly Guacamole individual packets, which come in a box of 4 or they now sell them in the big box name brand stores. They keep for a good long time and now I don't waste any. Buy the spicy, it is wonderful!!

Spicy Corn Salsa
makes 1 cup
* 1 ear corn, kernels removed
* 2 slices of red onion, minced
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 2 teaspoons taco seasonings
* 2 tablespoons Tomatillo Salsa Verde
* 6 plum tomatoes, diced
* 1 squirt Agave
* Salt & pepper to taste
* Hot sauce, optional

1. Saute all ingredients until all the liquid has evaporated.

Lime Crema
makes 1/3 cup
* 1/4 cup light sour cream or Greek yogurt
* 1 tablespoon Agave or honey
* Juice of 1 lime
* Salt & pepper to taste

1. Whisk all the ingredients until smooth.

Fried Fish
makes about 20 pieces
* 8oz Alaska cod, sliced thin (the frozen steaks work the best)
* 1 cup Tempura mix
* Mexican beer
* AP flour
* 2 teaspoons Taco seasonings

1. Whisk the spices with the tempura mix and then pour 1/4 cup beer into the dry mix. Whisk adding additional beer until the mixture is the consistency of paint.
2. Dip the cod into the AP flour, then into the tempura batter, coating completely.
3. In a skillet with 2-inches of searingly hot vegetable oil, fry the cod without crowding the pan, making sure they do not stick together. Flip over, continue frying until GB&D and remove to a wire rack set in a sheet pan that is warming in a low oven.
4. Salt & pepper while they are still hot.

Now, I must remind you , this filling also works in a traditional tortilla and because there is not much "juice" you might just end up with a clean plate!!

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July 23, 2014

Cruise to Bermuda ♥ Random Bites

A few random pics that were left on the cutting floor.

This is the dockyard in Bayonne New Jersey. Years ago the cruise ships left from the Hudson River docks on the west side of Manhattan. When the cruise industry exploded, the same could not be said for available docks. New York just would not pay the expense to build new ones.
The last one taken was from the Intrepid (the aircraft carrier turned museum).

While you don't sail pass Lady Liberty (it is further south), you get to cruise under the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge,  a double-decked suspension bridge in the U.S. state of New York that connects the New York City boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn. 

While waiting for the early diners to leave the room and give the staff a chance to reset the tables, we would head outside to see the sunset. This was halfway to Bermuda, in the Atlantic Ocean at 8:15pm.

It was the first time I have ever seen this ocean look like glass. The Mediterranean wasn't even this calm.
We were left speechless.I have to say, the weather was perfect the whole trip, which always makes for a great cruise.

If you book an excursion on a catamaran, this is one of two that you will sail on. When they pulled back into dock, they were all singing and laughing. A good time is always had on these snorkeling excursions.
A must do!

This is Front Street in the capitol of Hamilton. One of the only places left that they drive on the left side of the street. Reminds me of Duval Street, Key West. Shopping, eating and strolling. Was pretty empty the first day we arrived in Bermuda. The second day was packed. Another good tip, don't wait till the second day on land to roam the streets. Everyone with all their strollers, cameras and beach bags are out and about and every place will be packed.

We ate at Flanagan's Pub, one of the oldest Irish Pub's in Bermuda. Very friendly staff and once again, it is expensive in Bermuda. Be prepared to spend over $10.00 for an appetizer. Best to share, they do serve large portions. I ended up leaving half my lunch on the table.

On the way back downstairs, after hitting the head, there was this little local joint where everyone was watching the FIFA Cup. This was the scene at every bar on the island. If you got there before the World Cup started, you could get a front row TV seat, after that, you might as well be the Queen because you would take your life into your hands if you asked to wedge into the bar.....

Bermuda is shaped like a crab with the claws facing north. This was actually the north Atlantic Ocean-side of the island. The blue of the water stretched out for miles. Even nicer than the Caribbean Ocean.

The back of the ship, where when you return there is pizza and snacks and a trio that provides music. It is amazing that as many people sail on each ship, there always seems to be a spot that you can relax and not feel congested. Our favorite spot on each cruise where we would always grab a drink before heading to our room to get ready for the night. Our way of quietly saying good-bye to each port of call and savoring the memories.

And this, was a little guy that I left in my camera. An island owl, fairly large little peep, it just sat by itself checking out the steady stream of people as they walked by.

Hope you enjoyed a few of our Bermuda pictures.
Would I go again? Probably not. There are a few favorites that I love to return to, but Bermuda, like the owl, did not make the cut.

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July 22, 2014

Whiskey BBQ Sauce ♥ Cooking with Spirits - Recipe Redux Challenge July 2014

On my Fortieth Birthday I threw myself a huge pool party in the backyard of my In-Laws house.
Everyone we knew was invited.
College buddies, work buddies, family and all the kids. The place was hopping.

One thing I wanted to do was to give the adults something to participate in besides watching their kids in the pool and the yard just wasn't big enough for a wiffle ball game.
I did what I knew best, I hosted a BBQ Sauce contest. The winner got a full set of engraved BBQ tools, second place got a monogrammed BBQ apron and third place got a mitt and towel set.

Since I am a theme party planner, I choose Kansas City BBQ for the food and the drink. The Nudge scouted two barrels, had them cut in half, made a grill top to fit each one and his college buddy who was a caterer, gave a gift of 80 pounds of ribs. We also had hamburgers, smoked redfish, corn, potatoes, chicken, pork shoulder and, if I remember correctly, a bucket of BBQ'd shrimp.

It was wonderful. We had three judges and they took their job seriously. They tasted each one, eating a piece of bread after each and then ate a rib with the sauce.

My sauce came in second place, I still have the apron and use it all the time. Everyone cried fix, because my mom was a judge but the sauces were not labeled and the bowls were all identical, so no one, even us, knew who's was who's. We had about 10 entries, which I thought was a good turnout. When the judging was completed, everyone could try them on their food.
This was the 2nd place winning sauce.

Whiskey BBQ Sauce
makes about 2 cups

* 2 tbsp. butter
* 1/2 cup minced onion
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 3/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
* 1/2 cup whiskey
* 1/2 cup ketchup
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1/4 cup cider vinegar
* 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
* 1 teaspoon smoked Hawaiian sea salt
* 1 teaspoon pepper

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove cover and increase heat. Cook for 5 minutes more to thicken slightly.

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July 21, 2014

Cruise to Bermuda ♥ Home, James!

Let me introduce you to our master of ceremony for our dinner while sailing towards home. Yes, he's as animated as he looks, and more!
There is one thing I know for sure. If you immerse yourself in your surroundings and step out of your comfort zone (not just on your vacation), you will make the most wonderful and surprising memories.

We have experienced the best times of our life, taking a left turn where we should have taken a right and those times were our most memorable. This was a left turn.

The man of the hour (and for the rest of the trip) was this man. A combination Pee Wee Herman and the gayest of Caribbean characters (Birdcage anyone?) you will meet in person. He was so over-the-top, every woman wanted to take him home with them and every man just stared in awe.
What a blast!!

If it wasn't for him, I don't think we would have enjoyed the evening.

Our last day in Bermuda ended at 4:15pm. After we sailed off to the Atlantic and back to New Jersey we got ready for a dinner in one of the specialty restaurants. We were invited as a guest of the Blue Chip Club, to the newest, unique restaurant that serves small plates that you order at your table on a tablet. Not exactly tapas, these were full-sized plates, but meant to be shared.

There were 15 other diners from the same club so it was nice to spend some time outside the casino, getting to know our fellow gamblers.
None of us really knew what to expect except The Nudge & I who just happened to eat at one on our last cruise to Europe. Everything was served family style, our host ordered just about everything they offered, in sets of three (front of table, middle, end). Each of us shared one or two dishes at one time,with 4-5 people.

We started with a salad of mixed greens and a fried medallion of goat cheese. Along with that we ate a Thai-style pork mixture rolled in crunchy rice noodles that was fried and placed in a martini glass with a sauce.
First off it was luke warm, not hot and the noodles were limp from sitting in the sauce by the time we got around to it. I think they called it a bird's nest something or other.
Not something I would try to replicate at home.

The next dish was a shrimp salad in a remoulade sauce that had a digital 'Disco Light' in with the ice.
It was good and entertaining, but again, nothing to write home about. While it was dancing in the ice, it was not dancing in my mouth.

This dish was a Moroccan chicken skewer of zucchini and eggplant, served over saffron rice with a spiced yogurt drizzle. This one flew off the table. I think by now we were so hungry for good food, everyone cleaned the plates.

Finally we were served a three meatball arrangement that looked promising. I love to try different flavored meatballs. I was hoping for inspiration to take home with me. The turkey one (in the middle) was way too salty, had blueberries in the interior (yuck) and had no flavor at all. The ricotta meatball was par but not remarkable (a basic meatball in sauce) and the beef with mushrooms tasted just like a Stroganoff. I was not impressed. I was not the only one.

Right before desserts were served I noticed we never got a taste of the lobster-escargot nibble. I imagine they thought we were full so it didn't make the list. I wanted to taste it and when it arrived, the group on our end wanted to share, so I took one, ordered another serving and was sorry I did. I am not sure if the others enjoyed this dish, but all I tasted was lobster base (yes, like Better Than Bouillon) which totally overwhelmed the escargot and the lobster meat just disappeared. The best part? the brioche cones to dip into the sauce.

Dessert was donuts (too sweet and been there done that), brownie cupcakes (passed) and the best thing served, Neapolitan gelato in miniature SS cocktail shakers, yum!
We ordered three more for our end.

With a large crowd, this was a nice evening, and I enjoyed hearing everyone impressions as to what we liked or didn't. The best part was the conversations, the worst part was the food. I was expecting dishes I would not think of eating at home with a few foams and dry ice presentations.
I know I am a foodie, cook and eat what the average person does not but the general consensus of the group was, they would never pay the extra money that a reservation would cost the traveler (yes, there is an additional fee to eat there).

The food in the main dining room is in par with eating in a French restaurant, was better and included in the price of the cruise. I am sorry I did not bring my camera into that dinning room. We feasted on Duck la'Orange, Veal Bolognese, Gnocchi, Beef Wellington, etc.

If you are on a honeymoon and want to eat alone, the specialty restaurants are a good way to have a date night. Turned out, at our table for 6 in the main dining room, we were the only two that showed all week, so every night was date night. Nothing wrong with that, it was nice, but the one thing I always enjoyed by eating in the main dining room, was the chance to meet a few couples over a nice meal and great wine and a few I am still in touch with today.

Getting people to sit down to dinner together is just as hard on vacation and it is at home.

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July 18, 2014

All-American Corn Pasta with Chicken, Chilies and Tomatoes

I have had this recipe bookmarked for almost a year waiting for the day when I had the best weather and a full afternoon. I enjoy making homemade pasta and with something I am not familiar with, I like to take my time and do it right.

I had purchased a few Time-Life books back in 1986 in a series called "Fresh Ways with...." and this was from the pasta cookbook. (I also bought the vegetable and poultry books)
All the recipes have been reworked and lightened up in a time when most people didn't even know what bad cholesterol was.

The one thing I liked about these books were their creativity that fits in with today's eating and if you did not know better you would think this was a recent cookbook.
Making homemade pasta and cutting the strips is at least a half day process and the timing from done to boiling water must coincide for when you are ready to sit and eat.

I find that pasta that uses half AP and half flavored flour is extremely delicate and dries out and cracks if left on the counter for too long. Even though I cover it with a damp towel, it does not have the stability (less gluten) to dry like if I used all AP flour.

Please excuse the terrible pic, Hurricane Arthur came to dinner and I really wanted to share this recipe.

You don't have to make your own pasta but I would firmly suggest buying fresh fettuccine. The sauce is light-weight and screams for a light pasta.

Took me a while to figure out what the sauce tasted like and finally right before I was done it hit me.
It tasted like a California pizza and as soon as I said it, The Nudge shook his head in agreement. While I added the chicken breast meat, I followed the recipe as written and on a hot, stormy evening, this was a nice light supper.

Corn Pasta with Chilies and Tomatoes
Makes 4 servings

Corn pasta dough:
* 3/4 cup masa harina (finely ground corn flour)
* 3/4 cup bread flour
* 1 egg
* 1 egg white
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/4 cup water, divided

Hot chili and tomato sauce:
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
* 2 small dried red chilies (chili de arbol), finely chopped or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 1 green pepper, seeded, ribbed and chopped
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 large ripe tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
* 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1. To make the pasta dough, mix the cornmeal and flour in the bowl of a food processor. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, egg white and 3 tablespoons of water. Slowly pour the wet through the feed tube until the dough comes together, forms a ball and cleans off the sides of the bowl.  Open the lid and squeeze the dough between your fingers. If it sticks together, remove to a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes.
2. Dust a large board with flour and using a rolling pin, roll to an 1/8-inch thickness. If you have a pasta machine, roll pieces until you can see your finger through the dough. Remove to a kitchen towel that has been lightly floured and continue rolling the remaining dough. Do not overlap the strips and cover each layer when done.
3. Use the fettuccine roller attachment and after each strip is cut, make a nest, sprinkle with flour and continue until they are all done.
4. Start a pot of salted water to a boil and in a separate skillet, heat the oil and add the garlic and red chilies or pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic turns a light brown - about four minutes.
5. Stir in the tomato, vinegar and butter and cook the mixture for an additional two minutes.
6. Drain the noodles and add them to the skillet containing the sauce. Toss well and serve hot.
If the sauce dries out add some of the pasta water.

Grated Romano cheese optional.

Nutrition (minus the chicken and cheese):
Calories: 297
Cholesterol: 76mg
Total Fat: 12g
Sat Fat: 3g
Sodium: 267mg
Protein: 8g

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July 16, 2014

Blueberry Cornbread ♥ I love when you can eat the rejects

Berry season is in full swing. I hope everyone is buying cases of blueberries and freezing them while they are sweet as candy. Your tummy will thank you in the dead of winter. I can get 6 pints at $1.00 per and for me that is a bargain worth clearing a shelf in my freezer for. In the fall, when cranberries are ripe, I do the same.
Raspberries and blackberries need to be eaten when fresh, so let the commercial companies do the freezing for you.

Pancakes a must, a blueberry cheesecake a given, and instead of muffins I am baking a blueberry cornbread.
I also put a duck breast with blueberry port sauce on the menu and if there are any left over, I would like to make a small batch of jam.

I choose the cornbread instead of muffins because I can portion it out, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze them if they are not eaten in a few days. The Nudge has already committed to half. Without those blueberries he wouldn't have even answered me. It's a good way for me to get him to eat a breakfast that is all good.
I mean who doesn't already know that blueberries are a Super Food and it doesn't hurt that sweet blueberries make everything eatable.

While my usual 'go to' for baked goods is Martha, I thought the cornbread on Recipe Girl looked yummy, so I gave it a whirl. I have been buying corn muffins at BJ's for years and while I know they are over 500 calories each, they just taste great and I can't pass them up. I am hoping to fill in the 'tween time with hers and maybe be a suitable replacement.

Although I loved the ease of this recipe, there are a few things I would change if I make these again.
First, I did not have buttermilk so I would like to use that next time.
I would use half the berries called for, while I love them, they overtook the batter. The large ones tend to fall to the bottom no matter how much flour you mix them with so I would pull out all the large berries.
I also used a medium ground yellow cornmeal but I think a fine ground would work better and maybe even a mix of corn flour, cornmeal and AP, so the corn flavor is still there. That is why I choose this recipe after all.

I think the problem was with me. This really is a very good blueberry cornbread. The Nudge actually made a point of telling me it was delicious.
When I think about it, what I was going for is a cake (not too airy), using cornmeal (not dense like a cornbread) with a streusel topping.

If you would love a very dense cornbread with pockets of airy blueberries, this recipe is for you.
Me? I recently heard about a blueberry cornmeal coffee cake recipe straight out of Smitten Kitchen's cookbook. Just might be my holy grail.

See ya next week. Back to the drawing board for me, but no dis-pare.  Not a bad way to use up my stash, especially when you can eat the rejects!!

Blueberry Cornbread
Adapted from Recipe Girl and highly recommended by Wish Upon A Dish
Yield: 16 pieces
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 40 min

1 cup yellow cornmeal (stone/course ground works best)
1 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square Pyrex or metal pan with nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugars, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients, then pour in the melted butter too. Mix just until incorporated (don't over-mix). Stir in 1 cup of the blueberries. Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries on top.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until the edges turn golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.

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July 14, 2014

Cruise to Bermuda ♥ Day Three

These pictures are a few of the animals, fish and amphibians that are housed at the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo. For a small place, there is quite a lot of things on display for children of all ages. The best part is that is certain areas of the zoo you are actually in the cage with the animals.

The displays are build with a path through them so everyone is touching close to all the animals. We both got such a kick out of looking right into the eyes of the animals as they scurried along the same paths as you are walking on. The only fence barrier were for the parrots because they could bite the kids. They have 14 different areas divided into island animals, a Discovery Zone, Seal Pool, Alligator Exhibit and the Aquarium tanks.

The ways to get there are by bus in St. George's, taxi and an excursion you can book through your ship.
It's a great boat ride along the north side of the island.

This is the cove that the boat travels through to get to the dock outside the Zoo.
Look at the color of that water.

One of the houses along the canal. All the roofs are built like a step pyramid so that the rain water can be collected into an underground tank that each house has.
Bermuda has no natural wells, all their water comes from rain.

Everyone that owns a house on the water has a boat to get around. The amount of cars allowed is strictly enforced by the government.
Unless someone stops driving or moves away, no new cars are allowed.

I am not sure of the name for each fish or lizard but I thought they were interesting enough to show you.
This is an Asian lionfish. It was brought to the US to eat algae and moss and bacteria and all it managed to do was to wipe out our native species. Fortunately they are good eats (snapper anyone?) but they can only be caught with nets or harpoons. In Asia they are considered a delicacy. They can have them back.
Pretty though, huh?



I think this is a puffer fish. Very scary indeed.

 A moray eel. This sucker is over 4 feet long. Just can't see it.

Poisonous frogs that are no more than an 1-inch long. I could not get a good pic of the bright red ones but the yellows posed long enough to show you the size compared to the leaf.

A couple of lizards.

A beautiful parrot. There are actually two of the same kind in one cage.

This is called a tomato frog, I wonder why?

Galapagos Tortoises

A pair of bats.
Hanging right in front of us.

Flamingos. I have never been this close to one. Their color is actually a bright pink.

Absolutely gorgeous red herons.

This is called an Agouti. They are just a big guinea pig from Papua, New Guinea.
Ran right in front of me and down the path. It stopped long enough to catch a pic before it disappeared into it's cave.

A pair of river otters. They are so cute, I really wanted to pet one but The Nudge stopped me....lol

If you do go to Bermuda or know someone who is going, you must insist they visit the Zoo & Aquarium.
I highly recommend it and if I ever go back to Bermuda, I will plan on visiting once again.

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