Saturday, March 30, 2013

Russian Tea Cakes

If there is a top ten list of my favorite cookies in the world, the Russian Tea Cakes would be in that list.  Okay, you have probably heard these called – Mexican Wedding Cookies or Snowball Cookies. All of these have the same premise – butter, flour, nuts and powdered sugar as the primary ingredients.  I just know they melt in your mouth and it is hard to limit yourself to one or two.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fried Chickpeas with Sautéed Garlic and Truffle Salt | Friday Night Bites

It has been a long week at work.  Busy, busy and even more busy as the week is winding down.  It is all good stuff, just not enough time in the day to accomplish all that needs to be done.  Surprisingly enough, I do believe that everything will be done – just need to have a laser focus as Friday approaches.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits + Farmstead Restaurant in Napa Valley

In the heart of Napa Valley resides Long Meadow Ranch (LMR).  This 650-acre home ranch produces both wine and food in the Napa Valley from three different locations including the home for wine making at the 90 acre Rutherford Estate in the center of the Rutherford AVA. Among this vast estate, the destination spot is the Long Meadow Ranch Winery and the spectacular restaurant, Farmstead and the tasting room in the historic Logan-Ives House and the Farmers Market at Long Meadow Ranch. It is an impressive destination and not to be missed if you are in St. Helena and/or Napa Valley.

Yesterday we convened for our regular restaurant club get together and this month it was my turn to select our destination.  Farmstead had been on my list for a while. I was thrilled the day had finally arrived to experience this distinguished restaurant. 

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Port Infused Fig Blue Cheese Crostini | Friday Night Bites

I am obsessed with Crostinis! They are like a blank canvass begging to be painted on.  A great crostini can be your own "Mona Lisa".  Okay, I might be a bit dramatic, but you are picking up what I am putting down.  Smile.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Brown Sugar Cookies | Secret Recipe Club

I love brown sugar.  When used to make cookies, it elevates the flavor to the next level. This month for the Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Carrie’s SweetLife.  Carrie’s philosophy for her blog is to create and share simple comforting food that puts a smile on anyone’s face that has the pleasure of eating it.  I can relate to her thought process.

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Italian Butterhorn Cookies

Several weeks ago I took a short road trip up to Napa.  Luckily for me, it is only about an hours drive from my house.  I ventured to attend Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil’s new book tour.  I initially met Lindsay virtually from an online program titled “adopt a blogger”.  The premise was to match a veteran and newbie blogger together.  The veteran would mentor the newbie, to impart their knowledge and experiences.  Lindsay had given great advice and was always available, should I have a question or need.

I was elated to finally meet Lindsay in person along with her hubby Taylor.  She is as lovely as she appears on her blog and could not be nicer.  I am thrilled for all of her success and wish her all the best with her future endeavors.  She has a fan for life with me and I can’t wait to make some of her delicious recipes from her new book – “Breakfast for Dinner”.  Okay cleaver concept, huh?

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spaghetti Fritters with Arugula and Walnut Pesto | Friday Night Bites

I adore Oprah.  She is someone who is insightful, inspirational, a thought leader, motivator and role model.  Her positive influence has reached all ends of the earth.  With the ending of her daily talk show and the emergence of her OWN network, her positive impact continues to inspire people.  I love learning and growing.  Oprah’s Master Class series along with Life Lessons are among my favorite shows on her network. 

Over the weekend, I sat down to watch the Master Class episode with Cindy Crawford and it was such an authentic view into her life experiences, thoughts and lessons she has learned.  I identified with many of her insights especially about marriage and to root your love in friendship.  My hubby is truly my best friend. 

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Chocolate Buttermilk Donuts with Salted Caramel Sauce

Chocolate and caramel are a marriage made in heaven.  When this month’s theme for the Chocolate Party was official, it brought a large smile to my face.  The idea of blending chocolate and caramel into some type of confectionery delight was simply magical.  The variations spun through my head like a high speed car chase – the possibilities were endless.

I finally came to a resolve.  Since my hubby is obsessed with donut holes, I knew my decision was final.  I found a recipe for Chocolate Caramel donuts from Martha Stewart.  The only problem was two-fold:  I did not have those store bought soft caramel squares plus I am quite frankly not a fan of them.  I still wanted to surprise my hubby with some homemade donut holes.  Then it came to me, why not make some of my delicious Salted Caramel Sauce to dip or drizzle the chocolate donuts with.

The result was a pure sensation of the marriage between chocolate and caramel.  What a perfect dessert to enjoy while watching your favorite movie or at your next dinner party.  If you would like to learn more about joining in the Chocolate Party fun and seeing what fun combination is up for next month, simply click here to learn more.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Gruyere and Cayenne Crackers | Friday Night Bites

My addiction with homemade crackers continues. As a kid, and still today, I love the traditional “cheez-its” cracker. That perfect square shape with ruffled edges and the tiny dot imprint in the center has a certain appeal.  Perhaps, it is since they are incredibly easy to eat and snack on. Since the cheddar variety is the most traditional flavor, I thought I would mix it up and put my own spin on this iconic cracker. After much internal debate, I came up with Gruyere cheese and cayenne - a little spice along with the rich nutty cheese flavor; simply perfect for our Friday night bites.

It doesn't feel much like winter here in the bay area. We did experience a fairly vigorous rainstorm on Tuesday night which awakened me during the middle of the night. The weather man is predicting that we will have sunshine and warm weather over the weekend. I wish winter would happen here in the bay area since we definitely need the rain. I was certainly hoping the rain would continue through the weekend especially for our traditional Friday night bite celebration.  A cozy fire along with the sound of rain hitting the windows sets the tone for a perfect winter Friday night.

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