Sunday, July 17, 2011

Another First

     What was supposed to be a quick recipe posting has turned into a marathon of all things blog related for me today. I did get both recipes posted, you're welcome David and Ruhi, sorry it took so long. As I was frantically typing away while watering my garden and BBQing breakfast, I thought to check my comments and I was done in. All previous plans dissolved and I was lost to the blogger world.

     The nicest thing was the Sunshine award that my cousin and fellow blogger awarded me, it made my day. It also made me realize how much I have missed being in my own little piece of cyberspace.

     The award is given to those who brighten up your day and I must say it came as a surprise. I'm the heavy here in the "Kitchen" and more often described as the raving b@#ch.  It's nice to know someone appreciates me. LOL

Here are the rules associated with this honour;

1 Thank the person who gave it to you and link back to them.

Thanks RoryBore, I love following along with you and the family. You make me laugh and think.
That's her link above. She is part of the SAHM network and far more involved/connected/knowledgeable about and in the blogging universe. I rely on her for recommendations and can these Moms write; funny, articulate and all round just good people

2 Mention 10 other blogs you follow and think should get this award.

I don't actually follow 10 other blogs and quite frankly if anyone deserves this it is my cousin, RoryBore, but here are some of  the places I drop by if I have the time and I recommend them all. My criteria for choosing the list below is these are all people I would love to have guest post. Their blogs are funny, informative, informed and more often than not, all three together.
Lots of good recipes written with a great sense of humour
Again, great recipes and makes me laugh out loud and
Same author for both spots, informative and funny. A city girl who moved to the country, the exact opposite of what I have done. aka Squirrel it away
Very informative and another writer with a sense of humour aka Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
Fantastic and unusual recipes for game meat and lots of others, just a great read
A great blog about canning
Another cooking blog with a great sense of humour
Great recipes and again that sense of humour

3 Share one thing about yourself.

That's a tough one, what bizarre bit of trivia about me to share. Hmm. let's see. I have a tiara hooked over a bottle of rye in my bedroom. I'm not going to explain or justify, just let your imagination run wild. I'm sure what you come up with is far more interesting and exciting than the truth. ROFL

     On that note, I think it is time to sign off. I'd like to promise I will be posting more often but... I have one more run of strawberries to do, the beans and zucchini need to be picked, the garden weeded and watered, the kitchen painted, lawn/hayfield cut, I'm sure you get the idea. And I still have about a month's worth of updates to the family histories to get through. Thank you to everyone who has supplied photos and information. Too much to do in this fantastic summer weather and let's not forget, beer to drink LOL

     Take care and thanks for stopping by.

Craig-Dowsett Reunion Sunday August 21, 2011

  Update for all the Craig and Dowsett family members

The family reunion is scheduled to take place
Sunday afternoon, August 21st
 St Johns Anglican Church Hall
located right beside the church
2 George St S, Smiths Falls,
ON K7A 1X4
(613) 283-1261

      There are going to be several of us there who are researching the family lines and you don't want to miss Susan Hull's collections of photos, they are amazing. I'm pretty sure there will be refreshments of some sort and things for the kids to do.

     For all my Wood and Lumsden relatives, most of my grandmother's family will also be there so feel free to drop by and say hello.

     If you have any questions, drop me a line, or leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer. Hope to see all of you there.

     Below is a copy of the flyer the organizers put together with all the details. Click to enlarge.

5 Layer Dip with Guacamole and Re-fried Bean recipes

     I have no idea who's recipe this is but it shows up at every family gathering and gets devoured. It can be as easy as opening some jars or more complicated. Of course mine is more complicated. LOL

     Here is the recipe, in a large baking dish layer re-fried beans, guacamole, sour cream and salsa. Beans first then the other three as you like. Top with shredded cheese, cheddar, Monterrey jack or mix the two. If you like garnish with chopped green onion, peppers and tomato. That's it. You can buy all the ingredients and just assemble and enjoy. I make my own guacamole and re-fried beans. Both are easy to do and I like the taste of mine over what I can buy.


2-3 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
Juice of 1 lime-adjust to taste
2 cloves of garlic minced-adjust to taste or omit
1 medium tomato diced or several tomatillos if you can find them
hot sauce- adjust to taste or omit

Throw everything in the food processor and pulse until it is the consistency you like. That's it, you're done. You can add as many or few seasonings as you like, the avocado and lime are your base.

Re-fried Beans

1 can black beans, drained
2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil
2-3 green onions chopped fine
2-3 cloves of garlic minced

In a medium skillet on medium high heat saute onions and garlic in cooking oil until onions are soft.
Add drained beans and bring to a simmer, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and scorching
Remove from heat and let cool
Mash beans until they are the consistency you like.* That's it, you're done again.

*I usually mash the beans as I'm stirring them while they are simmering. I like to keep them relatively coarse, not the paste they are when out of a can but that is  personal preference as is the addition of the onions and garlic. I think it tastes better.

     There it is, an easy summer dip that everybody likes. Serve it with tortilla chips and ice cold beer LOL, the beer is a must. Enjoy.

Mini Pavlovas

     A very simple dessert but what a show stopper.

     I'm not a huge fan of meringue but what else are you going to do with extra egg whites. The great thing is you can make them ahead of time and they keep really well for at least a week to ten days. With the meringues made ahead of time, it is really just an assembly line after that adding the whipped cream, fruit and what ever you want to garnish it with. 

     I have never had a problem making meringue, here is my method.


3 egg whites
1 cup sugar*
1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar-optional, but it is a stabilizer so....

Beat egg whites until stiff, dry peaks form. It usually only take about 5 minutes or so.
Gradually add sugar while continuing to beat the egg whites until it is all incorporated.
Add cream of tartar and continue to beat for a minute or two to make sure everything is well mixed.
On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, pipe or spoon out about three inch circles with a hollow/well in the middle to hold the whipped cream. You should end up with a dozen.**
Bake in a 250 degree oven for about 45 minutes, the meringues should crack a little.***
Turn off heat and leave meringues in the oven another 15-30 minutes to dry out more.
Remove from oven and lift off the parchment paper, they should come off fairly easily.
That's it, you're done.

* If you can, grind the sugar in a food processor until it is a fine powder, you're making Castor sugar. It will incorporate much faster and easier. There is nothing worse than gritty meringue. Do not use icing sugar, it has anti clumping agents in it and will not give that smooth texture you are looking for.

** Do not use waxed paper for parchment paper, ever. They are completely different.

*** Cooking time varies depending on relative humidity. You are incorporating a lot of air into the egg whites, if it is really humid cook a little longer to dry them out.

     Pavlova is a traditional Australian or New Zealand dessert depending on who you talk to. Usually it is a 9" circle of meringue, topped with sweetened whipped cream and fruit (kiwi and strawberries or raspberries)
I make mine in individual servings, no trying to cut fragile meringue and they cook faster too.

     I don't use sweetened whipped cream. The meringue is already sweet so I don't see the need. You can also use custard if you like. To keep the meringues at their peak, assemble as close to serving time as possible. The moisture from the fruit and filling will slowly dissolve the meringue and make it gooey.

     Top with whatever fruit is available. Okay, maybe steer away from apples or oranges but you know what I mean. Now that I think of it those little segmented mandarin oranges would probably work pretty well .... LOL

     That's it for the traditional recipe,  a relatively simple, light, delicious way to enjoy the fruits (and berries) of summer. I add one more step and it is purely for show although the mint leaves add a nice touch, accenting the fruit and cutting the sweetness a little.

     I garnish mine with edible flowers and a mint leaf or two. There are lots of edible flowers; pansies, geraniums, marigolds, roses, gladiolus, peonies, any kind of squash flower etc, etc etc. Google to find a complete listing. They don't add much to the taste ( I usually don't eat them, they're just for show) but they are eye candy and you eat with your eyes first. Please note, make sure you are using edible flowers that haven't been sprayed with an herbicide or pesticide, you don't want to poison your guests ... or do you?? LOL

     However you decide to make this, traditional or my way, I hope you enjoy this quintessential summer dessert.