Summer Solstice Dinner

So I told you all about the Summer Solstice Preserves and the Gluten Free Lemon Cake that I made with the preserves, to celebrate the solstice, but what I didn’t tell you about was what we ate for dinner! It was too good not to share, so here it is!

solstice-dinner

We had fresh local scallops and lobster (the lobster was not local, but was on sale for Father’s Day) kabobs with pineapple. The seafood and pineapple were marinated in a mixture of lime juice and zest, cilantro, jalapeño, sugar, salt, oil and pepper. Separately the same marinade was mixed with a whole sliced avocado. This was then used as a topping on a green salad with corn. On the side I made a red quinoa pilaf. To drink – “Teatini” a sun tea cocktail. Then of course dessert was the cake with preserves and whipped cream!

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Finest Foodies Friday – June 26, 2009

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As always here is what the FFF is all about. Finest Foodies Friday! FFF is a weekly Friday post featuring favorites from The Foodie Blogroll! We do this so we can share in the rich diversity of what The Foodie Blogroll has to offer by featuring some of our favorites and yours!
What is the Foodie Blogroll? It is the first and fastest growing free membership blogroll for food bloggers and has become a wonderful community to share ideas about all things food related. With a membership of over 4,000 food blogs, I am sure you can find much inspiration and new friends! :)

The only requirement to be featured here on FFF is to be a member of The Foodie Blogroll and be displaying The Foodie Blogroll widget on your blog. If you are not yet a member, but you have a food blog and would like to join us, please click here!

If you have a favorite foodblog on The Foodie Blogroll, that you would like to be featured here on FFF, please join us over on The Leftover Queen/Foodie Blogroll Forum, and post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

The Split Pea

is one of my new favorite blogs. It is written by Eralda who is from Albania but now lives in Texas in the US, with her husband and adorable little boy. The kitchen is many things to her: is where I rest, learn, experiment; it is where the many parts of myself collide onto each other, like strangers in the street.  They turn to look and meet a familiar gaze, a part of self that was missing, and in a moment of magic, they embrace, like perfectly married ingredients; they comprise a whole of many parts.” If you like eggplant, you don’t want to miss her latest post about The Lunch that Kept the Vampyres Away

Standing at the Kitchen Door

is a collection of recipes and memories, written by Mimi, a new member on The Foodie Blogroll! Welcome, Mimi! She has a lot of wonderful recipes and really great pictures. Her most recent post Two Cheese Garden Tomato Tart looks delicious! Perfect for all those summer time tomatoes!

17 and Baking

I always love to welcome young bloggers to The Foodie Blogroll and to the world of Food Blogging! I wish that food blogging had existed when I was 17! I am sure I would have started that young, and I bet my cooking would be 10x’s better by now! Her love of baking started when she bought a book about cake – for the pictures. Then when she realized that she could actually bake cakes too, there was nothing to stop her! Her parents bought her a camera this year so she could document her baking experiences! Please go and welcome Elissa to the Food Blogging Community!

Orange Blossom Water

This blog is written by Dimah who was born and raised in Syria. She chose the name for her blog because it is an ingredient that is very special in Syrian cuisine and is now finding popularity the world over – so it connects Syria to the rest of the world. She learned all of her recipes of Syrian cuisine from her mom, and her blog features those recipes as well as her own.

My Children’s Chef

This blog is written by Sylvia who is living far away from her home country, Malaysia. She is also a former restaurant owner, who still loves to cook, and uses her blog as a way to keep her closer to both of those things that she loves. Her photos are also beautiful and her recipes look delicious, especially her Simple Malaysian Fried Chicken

That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed this week’s FFF. Remember, if you would like to see a blog featured here, who is part of the FBR please visit the forum and nominate them.
I NEED NOMINATIONS!!!!!! I know we all have our favorite blogs that we read everyday, and I would love to know about them. We have a very diverse food community, and I would love to see more of the blogs you love featured. We also have a lot of humanitarians out in the Foodie Blogosphere. If you think there is a food blogger out there that deserves a little recognition for their culinary skills, or what they are doing to help the world through the lens of food, please tell us about them!!! Please post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

Also we all love to know how people came to find our blogs, so please visit all of our featured bloggers today and don’t forget to tell them that you found them via Finest Foodies Friday! They would love to have your feedback.

Recipe: Gluten Free Lemon, Polenta, Nut Cake with Summer Solstice Preserves

blueberry-jam-and-cake_layers

I have been really thinking about food, health, diet, and other related topics for some months now. Yeah, I know, you thought I always think about food, and that is true, but I am talking about on a more cerebral level. I go through these stages every so often and since I have been really concerned with fitness and making my body the best body it can be, I have had to really think a lot lately.

I believe that you are what you eat, that different people have different dietary needs based on a variety of factors, and it is best for individuals to evaluate what works best for them. Once in a while you have to re-evaluate things, and make sure everything is still working to your standards.

I am always looking to improve myself, and I listen to my body, and take its advice on what may need to be tweaked and changed.

Lately I have been feeling like I need to take a bit of a break from wheat. I know this really flies in the face of my bread making endeavors , and the fact that Roberto could eat pasta and bread until the end of time. But for me, and looking over the back pages of my life and my relationship to wheat, things have been kind of shoddy between us on many levels. Therefore, I have decided to do a gluten free experiment…and when I say experiment, I mean, experiment. I get everyone in on it – like my mom (helping me make this cake). Oh and speaking of my mom, she is starting to help me with my other blog – Travel Closeup. She has written several posts and is now listed on the about page as well. Go check it out! :)

blueberry-jam-and-cake_jenn-and-mom-making-cake

Anyway, back from family promotion and onto the food…I am not a person that tends to be into grains very much anyway, unless it is fresh baked breads or cakes and pastries. I don’t eat cakes and pastries very often, but I do eat bread. So it is time to see if gluten free is the way to go for me. So I have been experimenting with grains like quinoa, and buckwheat (which I already love) and eating more corn and rice based things – and trying to find non GMO versions of the corn based.

However, this weekend was the Summer Solstice, and as I mentioned last year, it is an event that we like to celebrate. I always bake for special occasions, and so I decided to challenge myself by making a GF cake. I just did a google search on gluten free lemon cakes from blogs, and happened across Joy, The Baker‘s Blog where she blogged this delicious, crumbly cake recipe . She had made it in a bundt shape, but said it crumbled too easy. So I decided to bake mine in a bread baking dish.

blueberry-jam-and-cake_cupcakes-and-extra-cake

This cake makes A LOT of batter, and so I made a bread loaf, a round cake and 6 cupcakes! None of them fell apart! The only change I made was doing 4 ½ cups of nuts and 1 ½ cup of rice flour (because I ran out of nuts!).

blueberry-jam-and-cake_jam-in-the-middle

For the solstice I halved the bread loaf lengthwise and filled it with the delicious Summer Solstice Preserves and topped it with whipped cream! It was a delicious cake – VERY buttery and dense, but also so good.

blueberry-jam-and-cake_sparkling-cake-just-cake

We sang Happy Birthday to summer, and feasted on this cake! I will write a post next week about what we ate besides this wonderful cake!

On a personal note, I may not be around visiting blogs as much in the next little while. Rest assured it is nothing personal. Roberto’s daughters are visiting us from Connecticut until the end of July (YAY!), and then we have family visiting from Italy during August, and so I will be spending more time with our guests than sitting at the computer! I hope everyone has a wonderful summer! Look forward to catching up with you later!

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Recipe: Summer Solstice Preserves

blueberry-jam-and-cake_sterilizing-cans-in-pot

I had a very special series of kitchen dates this past week. I refer to any event in the kitchen when I try something for the first time, as a “kitchen date”, since I have to really pay attention to what is going on the entire time, spend quality time with new ingredients and equipment, getting to know them – all the ins and outs, the quirks and the possible incompatibilities and then assess if this new item/process will become a part of my regular routine or not.

blueberries_01s

There are two major themes going on here – one is food preservation, and the other is gluten free baking. I have been talking about wanting to learn to preserve food, and can for quite some time now. I got the Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving several months ago, and have really been waiting for the right time to dive in and make something. Inspiration hit when the lovely folks at FromTheFarm.com sent me several pints of fresh blueberries. Obviously we ate quite a bit of them au naturale, but when I had quite a lot still after several days, I figured I needed to do something to preserve the rest…and then it hit me – MAKE PRESERVES.

blueberry-jam-and-cake_blueberries1

So I did. I opened the book to the index and chose a recipe that featured blueberries and other ingredients that I had already. Then I did something that could have been disastrous, I tweaked it – a lot! The whole time I was second guessing myself – here I was making preserves for the first time in my life, and not using pectin, and not using the same ingredients (or the same amounts) as the recipe stated! But with my typical luck, it turned out great! The color is amazing, and the taste, really really incredible – and it actually set. Plus instead of being too sugary sweet for my taste, like most jams and preserves, it has really retained its blueberry fruit flavor. I am so excited to now have 3 jars of spirited blueberry preserves to enjoy this year! One jar I have already used to make a delicious gluten free cake which I will post later this week.

blueberry-jam-and-cake_cannned

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Finest Foodies Friday – June 19, 2009

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As always here is what the FFF is all about. Finest Foodies Friday! FFF is a weekly Friday post featuring favorites from The Foodie Blogroll! We do this so we can share in the rich diversity of what The Foodie Blogroll has to offer by featuring some of our favorites and yours!
What is the Foodie Blogroll? It is the first and fastest growing free membership blogroll for food bloggers and has become a wonderful community to share ideas about all things food related. With a membership of over 4,000 food blogs, I am sure you can find much inspiration and new friends! :)

The only requirement to be featured here on FFF is to be a member of The Foodie Blogroll and be displaying The Foodie Blogroll widget on your blog. If you are not yet a member, but you have a food blog and would like to join us, please click here!

If you have a favorite foodblog on The Foodie Blogroll, that you would like to be featured here on FFF, please join us over on The Leftover Queen/Foodie Blogroll Forum, and post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

The Funny Side Up
This is an awesome video blog, by Lisa. Lisa cooks in her parent’s kitchen, for family and friends. She makes everything from croissants, pies and tamales to dog treats – all with a side of humor and good tips. I am telling you, you will laugh along with getting good recipes. This girl needs a TV show, people. Check out her recent post on pulled pork – I think this is something I will need to make this summer!

Gluten Free Garden
Gluten Free Garden is written by Hannah, who began her journey into natural and healthy foods after she discovered she was gluten intolerant in 2008. She now has a beautiful garden she started to provide a sustainable, gluten-free food resource her family! She posts with wonderful gluten free recipes, gardening and even bee keeping tips!

ZOE
It is really hard to resist a food blog with good pictures. I mean a blog does not have to have the best pictures in the world to make a regular reader out of me, because I myself am a writer more than a photographer, but that said, pictures certainly do catch your eye. ZOE is certainly one of those blogs. So go check it out. You’ll see what I am saying.

Cosmic Garden
This is a very interesting blog written by organic, sustainable farmers in Tasmania. They grow their garden according to the ancient practice of gardening by the moon. There is a plethora of gardening tips, and new (to me at least) ways of gardening that I certainly want to learn more about. Of course there are also delicious recipes that highlight all of the wonderful produce they grow!

It Was a Pleasure to Eat You
Here is part of Kimberly’s Manifesto: “ I’ve started a blog for instructional purposes–to teach individuals that food can be fun, that food is fun and exciting but never boring, and that what you put in your body matters! I hope you enjoy following me on my journey, and please feel free to agree, disagree, or present your own views about food.” This blog is all about a simple life with food – growing, preserving and learning to live with the land that produces our food.

That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed this week’s FFF. Remember, if you would like to see a blog featured here, who is part of the FBR please visit the forum and nominate them.
I NEED NOMINATIONS!!!!!! I know we all have our favorite blogs that we read everyday, and I would love to know about them. We have a very diverse food community, and I would love to see more of the blogs you love featured. We also have a lot of humanitarians out in the Foodie Blogosphere. If you think there is a food blogger out there that deserves a little recognition for their culinary skills, or what they are doing to help the world through the lens of food, please tell us about them!!! Please post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

Also we all love to know how people came to find our blogs, so please visit all of our featured bloggers today and don’t forget to tell them that you found them via Finest Foodies Friday! They would love to have your feedback.

Recipe: Coconut Tapioca Pudding and Leftover Queen on Slashfoood!

coconut-tapioca-pudding_ready-to-eat

This is surely a week of leftover food recipes. This is a nice little dessert I made up with a can of leftover shredded coconut from making the Carrot Wedding Cake .

Speaking of Leftover Recipes, if you want to check it out, The Leftover Queen Blog is being featured on Slashfood today with my last post, Caribbean Carrot Salad! Thanks so much Slashfood for featuring this awesome salad! We are truly honored!

Now onto the leftover coconut recipe. The only baking coconut that I can find anymore that does not have propylene glycol in it are the cans of Angel Flake (not the bags). I am going to be looking for organic dessicated coconut at my health food store the next time I go. But I bought the Angel Flake cans for the Cake. I had a half a can of the coconut left. I always have coconut milk on hand, and so I decided to bring the two together to make a pudding. I added some instant tapioca (still have not been lucky in finding tapioca pearls around here) because I really love the texture. This pudding is slice-able once it has been refrigerated for about an hour or two. It has a very nice coconut flavor, and is not too heavy.

Again, for those of you watching your food intake, I have the nutritional information at the bottom of the recipe.

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Recipe for Shredded Carrots: Caribbean Carrot Salad

carrot-salad_on-dish

I made this salad with leftover shredded carrots I had from making the Carrot Wedding Cake. I over bought on carrots because I wanted to make sure to have enough for the cake…so I had leftovers of course. Which IS ALWAYS a fun challenge for me. That is the beauty of cooking with leftovers – endless inspiration and ideas because you never have the same combination of ingredients – exactly. Which makes me think outside the box and just have fun experimenting!!!

I don’t normally buy pre-shredded carrots, so this was a new ingredient for sure . In reality, I can’t take credit for this recipe though, as I found it on the shredded carrot package. I did tweak it a bit, but the inspiration came straight from the label. Sometimes those on the package recipes are actually great! I served this with grilled organic chicken cutlets that had a Jamaican Jerk spice blend rub. For those of us counting calories/fat/protein ratios and the like, I do have nutritional information at the bottom of the recipe!

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Finest Foodies Friday – June 12, 2009

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As always here is what the FFF is all about. Finest Foodies Friday! FFF is a weekly Friday post featuring favorites from The Foodie Blogroll! We do this so we can share in the rich diversity of what The Foodie Blogroll has to offer by featuring some of our favorites and yours!
What is the Foodie Blogroll? It is the first and fastest growing free membership blogroll for food bloggers and has become a wonderful community to share ideas about all things food related. With a membership of almost 4000 food blogs, I am sure you can find much inspiration and new friends! :)

The only requirement to be featured here on FFF is to be a member of The Foodie Blogroll and be displaying The Foodie Blogroll widget on your blog. If you are not yet a member, but you have a food blog and would like to join us, please click here!

If you have a favorite foodblog on The Foodie Blogroll, that you would like to be featured here on FFF, please join us over on The Leftover Queen/Foodie Blogroll Forum, and post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

The Curious Blogquat
This blog is authored by Rob, (aka gfron1) owner of the Cafè at the Kumquat, a small dining experience housed in a large minded gourmet store. He is interested in both French Pastry and molecular gastronomy techniques and bringing them together. You’ll see what that translates to when you read about the wedding he recently catered in Scottsdale, AZ

Saffron Paisley
This blog is written by a single mother to a toddler living in Santa Cruz, California. She has a lot of varied interests which include, food, travel and textiles. She writes a lot about books, baking and farmer’s markets as well as a myriad of other activities that she enjoys with her daughter in order to keep her daughter creatively engaged in the world around her .

A Dash of Flavor
This blog focuses on recipes that an be part of a weight loss regimen, like weight watchers, however, it is not solely diet food – because as Jo, the author says, there are just some recipes that are too good not to post. There are a lot of delicious main dish recipes for pasta, chicken, red meat and whatever else you might fancy.

Kitchen Flavours
For this blogger from India, “Cooking is all about Experimenting and Experiencing”. Her blog showcases recipes from a variety of resources – family, magazines, cookbooks and cooking shows. Her pictures are lovely and her blog is full of the rich flavors of India! Enjoy!

Market to Mouth
Most foodies I know love to shop at Whole Foods if there is one near enough to them. Whole Foods is like a field trip for people that love food. There is just so much to see, to sample and to learn about. But it is expensive! That is the most common complaint I hear. This blog is dedicated to BUDGET shopping at Whole Foods. Louise has been in the food business for a long time, as a chef, in a variety of different places all over the world. Now she is “ Whole Foods’ official “Unofficial” recession-strategy blogger”!

That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed this week’s FFF. Remember, if you would like to see a blog featured here, who is part of the FBR please visit the forum and nominate them.
I NEED NOMINATIONS!!!!!! I know we all have our favorite blogs that we read everyday, and I would love to know about them. We have a very diverse food community, and I would love to see more of the blogs you love featured. We also have a lot of humanitarians out in the Foodie Blogosphere. If you think there is a food blogger out there that deserves a little recognition for their culinary skills, or what they are doing to help the world through the lens of food, please tell us about them!!! Please post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

Also we all love to know how people came to find our blogs, so please visit all of our featured bloggers today and don’t forget to tell them that you found them via Finest Foodies Friday! They would love to have your feedback.