Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day Trips - Have You Been To Serenbe?

Serenbe is a 1,000 acre community located under 30 minutes from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson
International Airport. It is a national model for the future of balanced development in the U.S.—
focusing on land preservation, agriculture, energy efficiency, green building, walkability, high density
building, arts and culture, and community living for multiple generations.


Serenbe was the first hamlet built in Chattahoochee Hills, a 40,000 acre city with an overlay plan that
calls for preservation of a minimum of 70% of the acreage. Serenbe’s founders, Steve & Marie Nygren
and Rawson Haverty, have created an urban model promoting walkability and community living, with private residential homes (currently, approximately 170 residents), commercial space, art galleries, original shops, stables, and a 20-room inn with conference facilities. Serenbe has devoted 30 acres to farming—the Serenbe Farm is certified organic and biodynamic with a thriving CSA program and Saturday markets.

Serenbe defies easy description, and is perhaps best understood through the story of its creation. In 1991, Steve and Marie Nygren, an Atlanta couple with deep roots in the city’s culinary life, bought a 60-acre parcel, with its 1905 farmhouse and rolling terrain, as a weekend home. Mrs. Nygren christened the place Serenbe, because it was such a serene place to be.Five years later, the Nygrens had converted the farmhouse into a bed-and-breakfast, and begun a series of additions and improvements. The barn became a guesthouse, and several tin-roofed cottages were restored into romantic hideaways. There are now 19 guest rooms in different configurations.

The Inn

They planted a garden thick with tomatoes and zucchini, and dug a pair of swimming pools, along with a fishing pond. They populated the property with llamas and donkeys and rabbits and goats, and added a croquet lawn, an open-air pavilion for weddings, miles of hiking trails and a labyrinth made of stones cleared from the organic fields.

A room at the Inn

The spacious rooms at the Inn at Serenbe, in the main house or the cottages, are simple and fresh, with cushiony beds that insist that you sleep. The Nygrens serve an afternoon tea, and guests are invited to help feed the animals on Saturday mornings, to gather around a lakeside bonfire on Saturday nights, and to take a hay ride on Sunday mornings.

The community is home to three thriving restaurants—Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop (the nation’s smallest Silver LEED certified building), The Farmhouse (which has received national critical acclaim in Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines, and is consistently featured in local publications), and The Hil (owned by executive chef Hilary White, and has received national critical acclaim in Food and Wine magazine, and was named a Best New Restaurant by Atlanta Magazine and the Atlanta Journal Constitution).

On Thursday through Saturday nights, The Farmhouse serves a weekly-changing menu, determined by Marie and her daughter Garnie Nygren (who serves as Director of Operations for Serenbe). Dinner features a small, seasonal a la carte menu with appetizer, entrée and dessert options. “Fried Chicken Sundays” have become a beloved tradition at The Farmhouse — patrons often comment that the Farmhouse’s fried chicken is the “best they’ve ever had” and “true, southern fried chicken). It is served with seasonal sides with a dessert option.

The Farmhouse has a full bar with “two for one” happy hours Thursday – Saturday, 4 – 6 p.m.

The Farmhouse

Serenbe is also a cultural venue for neighbors and out-of-town visitors, providing free events
throughout the year such as a MayDay celebration, July 4th parade, concerts, artist bazaar, farm
tours, visiting artists and scholars, and lectures with local historians. In 2009, the New York Times
dubbed Serenbe a “Sonoma for the New South.”

For directions on how to get there click here

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Plan A Great Super Bowl Party!

Come next door to Lindaraxa's Garden for great recipes and entertaining tips in planning a Super Bowl Party!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Silver Palate Chili - Entertaining For a Crowd

In the 1980's a wondrous jewel of a food store opened on Manhattan's Upper West Side. It was christened The Silver Palate. Tiny though it was, the shop's gem-like offerings - from tempting salads to whole meals and heavenly desserts - quickly attracted customers from far and wide. The spot became a refuge for harried executives, neighborhood couples, families and solitary diners who yearned for exciting, honest foods but who didn't have lots of time to prepare them. Sheila Lukins, and Julie Rosso, the owners of the store and co writers of The Silver Palate Cookbook were sort of  precursors to Ina Garten of The Barefoot Contessa in East Hampton and, I'm sure, the inspiration for her style of cooking. 

My cookbook is so tattered from use, I bought the Silver Edition when it came out a few years ago.

The Silver Palate Chili is the best chili recipe I have ever made and always gets raves when I serve it.  It is simple to make and a wonderful addition to your Super Bowl menu.

When choosing chopped meat for chili, you'll find that beef chuck adds great flavor. And you never can have too many spices. Look for dark red kidney beans. Lemon juice brightens all the tastes!  I skip the black olives as I do not feel they add anything to the dish but it's up to you.

Servings: 20


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound yellow onions, coarsely chopped

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings

4 pounds beef chuck, ground

1 12 ounce can tomato paste

1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic

1/3 cup ground cumin

½ cup chili powder

¼ cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons dried basil

2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 ½ tablespoon salt, or to taste

1 ½ tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

3 28 ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, drained

¼ cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup chopped fresh dill

¼ cup chopped parsley

2 16 ounce cans dark-red kidney beans, drained

2 5/12 ounce cans pitted black olives, drained


Heat the olive oil in a very large pot. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 15 minutes. Add the sausage meat and ground chuck and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the meats are well browned. Spoon off any excess fat and discard.

Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, cumin, chili powder, mustard, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add the tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, dill, parsley, and kidney beans. Stir well and simmer uncovered, for another 15 minutes.

Taste and adjust the seasonings. Add olives and simmer for 5 minutes more the heat through. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Get ready for the Super Bowl!!  If you bring this along, you'll be the hit off the evening...forget the game!


2- 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temp
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1- 4 ounce can chopped green chilies
1- 4 ounce can sliced jalapeños- double if you like heat
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 stick butter, melted


In a food processor add the first 7 ingredients and process until smooth. You do not need to drain either can of peppers. Spread the dip into a greased 2 quart casserole. In a bowl mix bread crumbs and the other 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Pour melted butter over top crumb mixture and mix well. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the dip and bake in a 375° oven for about 20 minutes. You want the top to get browned and the dip to be heated through and bubble gently on the edges. Do not over heat this dish or the mayonnaise will separate and you will have a grease puddle in your dip. Serve with Buttery crackers or a sliced French baguette. Serves 8-10.

Note:  You can substitute cheddar cheese for the mexican blend as a variation

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Baked Orzo With Fontina And Peas

Great with a ribeye steak!

Serves 6-8


4 cups chicken broth
1 pound orzo pasta
3 tablespoons butter, plus more to grease the baking dish
1 onion, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces shredded fontina cheese (about 1 cup)
4 ounces diced fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon dried thyme


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.

Bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the orzo and cook until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Pour the orzo and the broth into a large bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until the mushrooms are beginning to turn golden around the edges, about 7 minutes. Add the Marsala. Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan and cook until the Marsala has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture to the orzo in the large bowl. Add the cream, fontina, mozzarella, peas, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and dried thyme. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top of the pasta. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Giada de Laurentis

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Smoked Mozzarella & Ricotta Fritters

Serves 4-6



1 1/2 cups fresh whole milk ricotta

1 1/2 cups shredded smoked mozzarella

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

3 large eggs

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil, for frying

1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves

Balsamic Dipping Sauce:

6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the Fritters: In a small bowl combine the ricotta, smoked mozzarella, salt, and pepper. In another bowl pour the panko. In a third bowl lightly beat the eggs. Put the flour in a fourth bowl. Line a tray with parchment paper.

Scoop a 1 1/2 tablespoon ball of the cheese mixture into the flour and roll to coat. Transfer the ball to the eggs and roll to coat. Transfer the cheese ball to the panko and again roll to coat. Transfer the ball to the parchment-lined tray. Continue with the remaining cheese mixture.

Meanwhile heat 3 inches of vegetable oil in a large skillet to 350 degrees F. Fry fritters in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with thyme. Serve warm with Balsamic Dipping Sauce.

For the Balsamic Dipping Sauce: Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and honey in a blender. Blend until combined. Add the oil in a steady stream while the machine is running. Season with the salt and pepper. Serve in a small bowl alongside the fritters

Recipe Courtesy of Giada de Laurentis

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Brunch ...Smoked Ham, Gruyere and Caramelized Onion Frittata

All you need is bloody marys, a nice crusty baguette and fresh fruit to accompany this egg dish for a wonderful brunch!


8 extra-large eggs

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 small onion, diced

4 small red potatoes, diced

1 cup diced smoked ham or Canadian bacon

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for finishing top

1/4 cup sour cream

1 bunch chives, chopped


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, Gruyere cheese, salt, and pepper until foamy. Melt butter in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add the onion and potatoes and cook thoroughly. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Pull the edges away from the sides of the pan with a spatula so the eggs flow to the bottom of the pan. When the frittata is half set, add the ham.

Transfer the pan to the heated oven. Bake for 10 minutes until puffed and golden. Shower with grated Parmesan and serve garnished with sour cream and chives.

Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sunday Brunch - Lemon Yogurt Berry Parfaits with Homemade Granola

This is part of Tyler Florence Ultimate Brunch Menu!

Yield: about 9 cups
Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Recipe courtesy Mark Dissin


4 cups oats (NOT quick-cook or instant)

1 1/2 cups whole almonds, shelled, but skin still on

1/2 cup flax seeds

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup neutral cooking oil (canola)

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups raisins or dried cranberries

1 cup diced dried apricots

1/2 cup dried banana slices


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Mix oats, almonds, flax seeds, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. In a saucepan warm the oil and honey. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Pour the honey, oil, vanilla mixture over the oat mixture and mix gently, but well. Mix with spatula and eventually your hands. Spread out onto a sheet pan and bake for 40 minutes (stir after the first 20). Cool and break up any clumps. Mix in dried fruit.

Lemon Yogurt and Berry Swirl:

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence


Berry swirl:

3 cups mixed berries (any combination, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) frozen

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1 lemon, juiced

Lemon yogurt:

1 1/2 cups lowfat vanilla yoghurt

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Add berries, lemon juice and confectioners' sugar in a pan over medium heat. Cook until the berries break down and mixture becomes syrupy, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Combine the yogurt, zest and juice in a mixing bowl and stir. To serve, set up glasses and layer with granola, yogurt and berries.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sunday Brunch - Blood Orange Mimosas

If you are entertaining houseguests for the weekend, you want to keep the cooking to a minimum.  That doesn't mean starving your guests, it means planning ahead and getting organized

By the time it comes to Sunday morning, I'm pretty exhausted so whatever i am going to serve is going to be pretty simple.  I already impressed them with Saturday's dinner! Combining two meals in one, such as breakfast and lunch is the answer...hello brunch.  Prepare a pot of coffee the night before and leave a box with some cinammon buns or bagels by the pot so your guests can serve themselves when they wake up.   Plan brunch for around 11:00 - 12: 00.  and you are done until dinner, which hopefully, will be a simple BBQ.


Lemon Yogurt Berry Swirl with Homemade Granola

Smoked Ham, Gruyere and Caramelized Onion Frittata

Blood Orange Mimosas

Serves 4-6


1 bottle Prosecco
1 1/2 cups fresh blood orange juice
1 tablespoon super-fine granulated sugar
2 tablespoons orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)


Chill bottle of Prosecco. Combine fresh blood orange juice with sugar and orange liqueur in a large measuring cup and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. To serve, pour into the bottom of Champagne glasses and slowly top-off with ice-cold Prosecco.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Photos Of Our Lake In The Snow 1/07/10

We had a storm yesterday that left a dusting of snow around our area...not enough to sled or build a snowman, but enough to enjoy! Here are some photos shot around our area.

Photos sent by residents to 11 Alive and Atlanta Journal Constitution 1/07/110

Grown Up Mac And Cheese

If you are spending this weekend at the lake, here is a suggestion for Friday night's dinner.

Serves 2


4 ounces thick-sliced bacon

Vegetable oil

Kosher salt

2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi

1 1/2 cups milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated

2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch nutmeg

2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed

2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven - there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.

Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Recipe courtesy Barefoot Contessa

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Caramelized Leek Quiche

A great addition to a Sunday Brunch!


Makes one 9-inch tart

All-purpose flour, for work surface

1/2 recipe Pate Brisee

3 leeks, whites and light green parts only, halved lenthwise, sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 cups freshly grated gruyere cheese

3 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream


On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 12-inch circle. Fit dough into a 10-inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing into edges. Trim dough to a 1/2-inch overhang all around. Fold edge of dough over to create an edge that extends 1/4-inch above the pan. Lightly prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Chill until firm about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line bottom of dough with parchment paper, leaving at least a 1-inch overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges are just beginning to turn golden, about 30 minutes. Remove parchment paper and weights; continue baking until lightly golden all over, 10 to 15 minutes more. Cool tart shell completely on a wire rack.

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks soften and begin to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle half of the cheese over the bottom of the tart shell, top with cooked leek mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheese. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, yolk, milk, cream, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour mixture over leeks and cheese. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes before serving, or serve at room temperature.

From The Martha Stewart Show

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Veal Saltimbocca Alla Romana

This easy recipe for veal comes from Tyler Florence

Yield: serves 4
Time: 35 minutes

4 (5-ounce) thinly sliced veal cutlets (scallopini)

4 slices thinly sliced prosciutto

8 fresh sage leaves, plus more for garnish

All-purpose flour, for dredging

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons dry white wine

1/4 cup chicken broth

Lemon wedges, for serving


Put the veal cutlets side by side on a sheet of plastic wrap. Lay a piece of prosciutto on top of each piece of veal and cover with another piece of plastic. Gently flatten the cutlets with a rolling pin or meat mallet, until the pieces are about 1/4-inch thick and the prosciutto has adhered to the veal. Remove the plastic wrap and lay a couple of sage leaves in the center of each cutlet. Weave a toothpick in and out of the veal to secure the prosciutto and sage. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to combine. Dredge the veal in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess.

Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter and in a large skillet over medium flame. Put the veal in the pan, prosciutto-side down first. Cook for 3 minutes to crisp it up and then flip the veal over and saute the other side for 2 minutes, until golden. Transfer the saltimbocca to a serving platter, remove the toothpicks, and keep warm.

Add the wine to the pan, stirring to bring up all the delicious flavor in the bottom; let the wine cook down for a minute to burn off some of the alcohol. Add the chicken broth and remaining tablespoon of butter, swirl the pan around. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the saltimbocca, garnish with sage leaves and lemon wedges; serve immediately.

Saltimbocca alla Romana

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lake Lanier Islands Resort

Forty-five minutes from northeast Atlanta, Lake Lanier Islands Resort is situated on the shores of Lake Sidney Lanier and is Georgia’s most visited lakeside resort destination. This breathtaking site encompasses natural beauty in a private setting, making it an ideal location for family vacations, romantic getaways, business conferences and meetings, weddings, and more. It also encompasses an impressive list of accommodations and amenities sure to exceed the expectations of the most discerning traveler.

Last week, we took my Mother to have lunch at the resort.  At first we hesitated to go in after being told at the gate there was an $8.00 fee to tour the grounds.  But then we changed our minds, and are we glad we did.  The grounds and the scenery are absolutely breathtaking, even in the dead of winter.  We had the dogs with us but in such a peaceful atmosphere, we never hesitated leaving them in the car while we had lunch.  The parking attendant even volunteered to watch them while we were inside.  Lunch, to my surprise, was fantastic...the best fried oysters I've had in a long time!  The service above reproach and they even reimbursed us for the $8 at the gate.  Can't wait for the next houseguests to arrive and another excuse to take them sightseeing!

The sous chef is always impatient to get going!

On the way to the lodge

The golf course

the golf course in summer

The lodge

View of the pool from the lobby

The lobby

Lots of holly full of berries around the lodge

Hmm...I think I could live here!

and for this, I would take up golf!

Whatever your interest, Lake Lanier Islands Resort in Georgia ensures you a truly memorable experience.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Crispy Breaded Pork Cutlets

Remember those envelopes for oven baked chicken and pork called Shake & Bake?  I remember in the 70's they were all the rage. Well, now you don't need them!


Serves 4

1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower

4 boneless pork loin chops (6 to 8 ounces each)

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Coarse salt and ground pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss panko with oil. Bake, tossing once, until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, one at a time, place chops between two large pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or the bottom of a small heavy pan, pound to make 1/4-inch-thick cutlets.

Dividing evenly, coat pork with mustard; season with salt and pepper. One at a time, dip cutlets into panko, pressing firmly to adhere.

Place a rack on a rimmed baking sheet; place pork on rack, and bake, without turning, until opaque throughout, 10 to 15 minutes.

From Everyday Food, April 2008

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Swan Lake!

As I'm typing this,  it's 25 degrees outside and awfully cold, but yesterday was a gorgeous day.  There was a beautiful white swan down in our cove early in the morning, but someone forgot her camera at the house.  Around here you must have camera in hand all the time... never know who or what is  going to show up next.  Sometimes I think I live in Little House on the Prairie By the Lake.  Second trip down, around 3 pm. in the afternoon,  found friends and neighbors fishing off our dock. Not quite in the same category as a big white swan but still a nice surprise!



Someone caught something alright!

Ship on the horizon...

Is that who I think it is?

Hmm. she looks awfully familiar..

Come closer little girl....

It's her...Mom!!!!

I knew it was her all the time...


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