Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fig Jam

Figs are one of my all time favorite fruits.  I love to eat them fresh out of the box or wrapped in prosciutto for a quick lunch snack.  There is nothing like fig jam to put on top of cheese and pate.

Fairly soon I will start making some of my chiken liver pate and freezing it for the holidays so this week I also started on the jam to go with it. I don't bother with all the canning and sterilization process for it lasts for a couple of months in the fridge if you seal it well.   Even though you can buy it already made, there is nothing like the homemade stuff.  Maybe this year I will make a little extra and give them as presents to my dearest friends!

Printable Recipe


2 pounds green or purple figs, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup water


1.In a large, nonreactive saucepan, toss the fig pieces with the sugar and let stand, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the sugar is mostly dissolved and the figs are juicy.

2.Add the lemon juice and water and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer the fig jam over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the liquid runs off the side of a spoon in thick, heavy drops, about 20 minutes.

3.Spoon the jam into three 1/2-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top. Close the jars and let cool to room temperature. Store the jam in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.


Variation: Substitute 1/2 cup of white port for the water and add one 4-inch sprig of rosemary with the lemon juice; discard the rosemary before jarring.
Recipe from Food And Wine

Monday, September 27, 2010


Well, lordy be...she did win after all...what you know!  You've got to buy the ticket, enter the race for you never, never know what is going to happen.

Lily, our "mini" Lab, the runt of a litter of 13 (!) lab/chow mix puppies, today, on her very first competition, won her class bringing  home First Price in the Juniors of the Dixie Dock Diving Dog Competition at the Lake Lanier Pet Fest.  We are so proud of her!

You will recall my post a few days ago, telling you about the competition and giving you a a joking low down of our family contestants. Never in my wildest dream...  The good thing was she progressed from the beginning, each time adding one or two feet, starting with 11 feet the first day and finishing with a winning dive of 16 ft!!!  No one in her group came anywhere near that jump. I know this all sounds terribly silly but its nice to see the underdog come in from behind!

We are hanging her ribbon over my bridge trophy which was as unexpected as hers!

Here are some pictures of the first day which was hot and miserable.  I had a toothache, had taken my meds, and Lucy was the worst I've ever seen her, wanting to get in on Lily's day no matter what.  We were not happy campers, to say the least, so I did not make it to day 2 and did not see the final jump.  Sunday was a miserable soggy day and I had a lunch to attend for my grandson.  Truthfully, I did not think she had a chance...   but someone else did...

Here's what Lily's mother wrote on her Facebook page:

Lily is a NATURAL! I knew it the day she started jumping off our dock on Lake Lanier. I entered her into two waves of competition at the Dixie Dock Dogs event at the Lake Lanier Pet Fest.

Well I was right. Lily pushed it again and again. first jump around 9 feet. I think her second jump was about 11 feet, third ten feet, fourth 13 feet 6 inches! this put her in the junior finals (divisions are split into ranges of distance.)

We woke Sunday morning to TORRENTIAL rain here in Northern GA. But Lily and I took a chance and drove up to Gainesville to see if the finals were still on. And they were... Lily's first jump was 14'3"... her second... are you ready for this... 16 feet!!!!! she WON!!! First place in the Junior finals! I am SO proud of her I could bust!

She's next!

getting pumped up

And away we go!


2nd jump first day...13 ft!

So, you happy? Am I top dog now???

Here are some really great shots of the event. Some really great dogs. The best of the Event was an Australian shepherd named Shelby that jumped about 24 feet.

Here's Shelby!!

Dixie Dock Dogs sponsors "Chase Away Canine Cancer" 

Lily is donating her winnings to the Hall County Animal Shelter (seriously, she won $75!)
sponsors of the Lake Lanier Pet Fest

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Easy Pumpkin Flans

This easy pumpkin flan is a great dessert to enjoy any night of the week.  I will be posting a fancier recipe that calls for a pumpkin seed praline sometime next week in Lindaraxa's Garden. 

Printable Recipe



3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup water

2 large eggs

4 large egg whites

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 cup organic pumpkin puree, unseasoned

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup evaporated milk


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Put a kettle of water on to heat for the water bath.

2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the first amount of sugar with water. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar melts. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, without stirring, until caramel turns amber, 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully pour caramel into 3/4 cup ramekins and tilt to coat insides evenly. Set aside.

3. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, egg whites and second amount of sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, ginger and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Stir in milk. Pour into prepared ramekins. Skim off any air bubbles.

4. Place a folded kitchen towel in a roasting pan. Place ramekins on towel. Add enough boiling water to the pan to come halfway up the outsides of the ramekins.

5. Bake flans for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in their centers comes out clean. Remove ramekins from water and let cool on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

6. To serve, run a knife around the edge of each flan and invert into shallow dessert bowls.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wild And Brown Rice With Cranberries and Pecans

The perfect companion to fowl or game.  It also makes for a great stuffing!

Serves 6-8

Hands-On Time: 20m
Total Time: 1hr 25m


1 32-ounce container low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup wild rice

1 1/4 brown rice

1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the dish

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

3 stalks celery, finely chopped

1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh sage, finely chopped

1 cup pecans, finely chopped

1 cup dried apricots or cranberries, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper


1.Heat oven to 350° F.

2.In a pot, over medium-high heat, bring the broth and 1 cup* water to a boil. Add the wild rice and brown rice, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.

3.Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cooked rice, parsley, sage, pecans, apricots or cranberries, salt, and pepper and toss. Transfer to a buttered casserole. Cover and bake for 25 minutes.

*This recipe originally called for 2 cups of water.  I suggest you use one and if towards the end you notice the rice is still hard, slowly add the other, little by little. You might not need to add the whole cup.

Adapted from Real Simple

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quick Pear Chutney

This quick pear chutney, although not exactly the real thing,  is great with pork or game.


Serves 4

1/4 cup walnuts

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 shallot, minced

2 ripe but firm pears, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice

6 tablespoons cider vinegar

3 tablespoons honey

4 whole cloves

1/4 cup golden raisins

*ground ginger


1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread walnuts in a single layer on a small rimmed baking sheet, and toast until fragrant and browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool, and roughly chop. Set aside.

2.Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot, and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Add pears, vinegar, honey, and cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until pears are tender, 4 to 5* minutes. Discard cloves, and stir in raisins and reserved walnuts. Remove from heat. Serve warm or at room temperature.

.* I leave this a little longer and mash some of the pears to make it more "chutney" like.  I also add 1/2 tsp ground ginger.

 Adapted from MarthaStewart.

Roast Pork Loin With Pancetta

A wonderful main course for the Fall.  All you need is a Cauliflower Puree and a simple Pear Chutney, coming up!

Printable Recipe


Serves 4

1 pork loin (1 1/2 pounds)

8 to 10 cipollini, or small white onions, unpeeled

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus several sprigs

1/4 pound pancetta (Italian bacon), or bacon, thinly sliced


1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade


1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Sear pork on all sides until browned, about 10 minutes total. Remove from heat.

2.Rub pork with chopped rosemary; wrap with pancetta, overlapping strips slightly. Lay rosemary sprig on top; tie pork with kitchen twine. Scatter onions and rosemary sprigs around pork. Roast in oven, basting occasionally with cooking juices, until internal temperature is 145 degrees on a meat thermometer, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Transfer pork and onions to a platter; cover with foil.

3.Make pan sauce: In a small bowl, combine butter and flour. Pour off fat from skillet; place over medium heat. Add stock, scraping bottom of skillet to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce liquid slightly, about 2 minutes. Whisk in butter mixture; cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with pork and onions.

Recipe from Martha Steward Living 2003

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tomato Sauce With Onions And Butter

This recipe blew the mind of some of blogdom's top food bloggers last year.  This simple recipe! You can make it with ingredients most of you will probably have in your pantry, although you must use San Marzano tomatoes.  Don't skimp, most grocery stores have them.  You will find it doesn't even need Parmesan Cheese,  Try it without, then if you must add some, and don't be tempted to add anything else. The flavor of the sauce is so delicate, fresh and sweet that it needs nothing at all.

Serves 4 as a main course; makes enough sauce to lightly coat most of a pound of spaghetti

Printable Recipe


28 ounces (800 grams) whole peeled tomatoes from a can (San Marzano, if you can find them)*

5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter

1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved

Salt to taste

Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan (it fit just right in a 3-quart) over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste (you might find, as I did, that your tomatoes came salted and that you didn’t need to add more) and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.

Serve with spaghetti, with or without grated parmesan cheese to pass.

Adapted from Marcela Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking
Via Smitten Kitchen (Photos)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Our Entries To The Lake Lanier Dock Diving Competition!

September 25th-26 is the Dock Diving Competition at the Lake Lanier Dog Fest.  Our very own family of canine atheletes will be practicing day and night to bring home the most coveted of all the awards, Iron Dog, measuring strength and endurance for dogs who participate in all divisions... kind of the Nordic Combined/Triathelon of Dog Competition!

Iron Dog 2009

Our Athletes

Scarface...I hope to win by a tongue!

LucyWestie...You've got to be kidding me, right? 

AnnieLab and RoxyLab..,What, us?

We're very expensive non swimming labs...forget it!

First Our Athletes Get Mentally Ready

I'm so ready...

Im so not...

I can do this, piece of cake!

We told you, we're non swimming!

What did they say the prize was??

Okay, touchdown!

Pssst, 'bout another round for the spectators?!

In all seriousness, we are entering our "mixed" lab Lilly for the dock diving competition.  She has never done this...neither have we. We thought it would be a fun thing to do and who knows?

She's a good jumper, fabulous swimmer and as to endurance in the water? She can beat 10 Iron Dogs to the finish! 

Stay tune for the days leading to the competition!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lake Lanier Pet Fest

Support the animals at the 2010 Lake Lanier Pet Fest, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sept. 25 and 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sept. 26 at Laurel Park on Lake Lanier. This regional event will heighten awareness of responsible pet owner practices and the adoption of shelter animals. All proceeds will benefit the Hall County Animal Shelter.

The Dixie Dock Dogs dock diving competition is the main event of Pet Fest Dock Diving is an exciting sport where dogs jump for distance, height, or speed from a dock into a body of water. Though the popular competition has gained nationwide recognition, anyone is welcome to enter a dog that is at least six months old and current on all shots. Online registration is now open on the Dixie Dock Dogs website.

Other Pet Fest events are an interactive “Pet Zone” with contests and pet-friendly games; kids’ activities provided by the Georgia Mountains YMCA; an adoption tent with pets from the Hall County Animal Shelter; and live music all weekend, including Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls.

Parking is $5 for the day. Laurel Park is located at 3100 Old Cleveland Highway, Gainesville, GA.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Neiman Marcus Fruit Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing

This recipe is all about the striking presentation and if you hurry, you can find all the fruits above at your local supermarket except maybe be figs, but they are around! 

Now don't think for a moment that I have ever served this recipe in this beautiful fruit basket.  A beautiful green bowl has usually done it for me, but after discovering this simple tutorial,  I think I will give it a shot next time I have a group for brunch.

Choose whatever fruit is in season—summer watermelon and strawberries, fall apples, pears and grapes—and be creative!

Serves 6

For the Poppy Seed Dressing

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon dry mustard, such as Colman's

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon grated onion, plus the juice released by grating

1 cup safflower or canola oil

1-1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

For the Fruit Salad

4 cantaloupes

1 honeydew melon, peeled, seeded, and diced

3 fresh purple figs, quartered

6 black cherries

12 blackberries

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, for garnish

To prepare the dressing, place the sugar, mustard, salt, and vinegar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the grated onion and onion juice and mix on low speed. Turn the mixer to high and gradually add the oil in a steady stream until well incorporated. Continue to mix on high speed for 10 minutes longer, until the dressing is very thick. Stir in the poppy seeds, transfer the dressing to an airtight container, and reserve in the refrigerator.

To prepare the fruit salad, first make the melon baskets. Take 3 of the cantaloupe melons and use a sharp paring knife to make large V-shaped incisions into the circumference of the melons until the melons separate into 2 halves (see the photo). Cut off no more than about 1-1/2 inches from the bottom of the melon halves so that they will stand flat. Still working on the rind side, use the knife to carefully make another incision in a V-shape about 1/4 inch below the original V-shaped cuts, cutting just 1/2 inch into the flesh. Then, starting at the top point of each wedge, cut downward into the wedge between the flesh and the rind. Gently pull the top edge of each point away from the flesh, forming a flower petal shape (see the photo).

Stand the remaining cantaloupe and the honeydew melon on a cutting board and peel away the rinds using a long paring knife. Cut the melons in half, remove the seeds, and then cut the flesh into small dice. Transfer to a bowl. Add the figs, cherries, and blackberries and mix gently. Spoon equal amounts of the fruit mixture into each melon basket and garnish with the pomegranate seeds. Serve the poppy seed dressing on the side.

Chef's Note: The dressing can be used on any salad containing fruit.

Neiman Marcus Taste: Timeless American Recipes
by Kevin Garvin with John Harrisson

Read more: Recipe: Neiman Marcus Fruit Salad in a Melon Basket with Poppy Seed Dressing

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sunday Dinners...Tagliatelle With Ragu Bolognese II

When my brother and his family came down for the Labor Day weekend, I was surprised that he requested a Ragu Bolognese for Sunday dinner.  I was all ready for beans and ribs or something else on the grill, but no, this is what he wanted.  I had my Marcella Hazan cookbook on hand and decided to make her sauce, rather than the one I usually make which is posted on Lindaraxa's Garden.  After the accolades I received, I may just have to switch recipes.

In order to be successful with this reipe, you must follow the guidelines below and it is essential that the sauce simmer very lightly for at least 3 hours.  By very lightly I mean, a bubble here a bubble there, usually on simmer or below.  Otherwise the sauce will be too dry at the end. 

Marcella Hazan
Bolognese Meat Sauce

Printable Recipe

Yield 2 heaping cups, for about 6 servings and 1 1/2 pounds pasta

Time At least 4 hours


-The meat should not be from too lean a cut; the more marbled it is, the sweeter the ragu will be. The most desirable cut of beef is the neck portion of the chuck.

-Add salt immediately when sauteeing the meat to extract its juices for the subsequent benefit of the sauce.

-Cook the meat in milk before adding wine and tomatoes to protect from the acidic bite of the latter.

-Do not use demiglace or other concentrates that tip the balance of flavors toward harshness

-Use a pot that retains heat. Earthenware is preferred in Bologna and by most cooks in Emilia Romagna, but enameled cast-iron pans or a pot whose heavy bottom is composed of layers of steel alloys are fully satisfactory.

-Cook, uncovered, at the merest simmer for a long, long time; no less than three hours is necessary, more is better.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

3 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon for tossing the pasta

1/2 cup chopped onion

2/3 cup chopped celery

2/3 cup chopped carrot

3/4 pound ground beef chuck (or you can use 1 part pork to 2 parts beef)


Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill

1 cup whole milk

Whole nutmeg

1 cup dry white wine

1 1/2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds pasta,  preferably tagliattele

Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese at the table


1. Put the oil, butter and chopped onion in the pot and turn the heat on to medium. Cook and stir the onion until it has become translucent, then add the chopped celery and carrot. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat them well.

2. Add ground beef, a large pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Crumble the meat with a fork, stir well and cook until the beef has lost its raw, red color.

3. Add milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely. (this will take awhile) Add a tiny grating -- about 1/8 teaspoon -- of nutmeg, and stir.

4. Add the wine, let it simmer until it has evaporated, then add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all ingredients well. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down so that the sauce cooks at the laziest of simmers, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through to the surface. Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours or more, stirring from time to time. While the sauce is cooking, you are likely to find that it begins to dry out and the fat separates from the meat. To keep it from sticking, add 1/2 cup of water whenever necessary. At the end, however, no water at all must be left and the fat must separate from the sauce. Taste and correct for salt.

5. Toss with cooked drained pasta, adding the tablespoon of butter, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan on the side.

Cooks Note:  I doubled the recipe but kept the milk at one cup as well as the wine.  I also added the entire can of Cento San Marzano which i think is 28 ozs.

Source: "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" (Knopf)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dove Season Is Upon Us!...Grilled Doves La Mancha

Dove season in Georgia started on September 4th and ends on the 19th.  Your limit is 15 doves.  How do I know that?  I check Hunter Angler Gardener Cook and then go to a local website for the State of Georgia dates and limits.  Obviously, the dates on the different states vary so if you are interested, check your area.

I have had the pleaure of eating doves when I was young.  My father was a Hunter and Angler, sometime Gardener but never Cook.  He worked for Remington Arms for many years and we always had tons of copies of the Remington Arms Wildlife Cookbook on hand to give out to friends and clients.  Somehow, I  lost my last copy in one of the many moves I've made in my lifetime.

I thought it would be fun to publish game recipes once in awhile on this blog as hunting and fishing are an integral part of living on a lake.  HAGC has a few great recipes for grilling dove including my favorite of the lot, Grilled Doves La Mancha

Spanish smoked paprika is integral to this dish. Many good supermarkets offer it, you can even find it at Marshall's or Homegoods.

Figure on 2-3 doves per person for a light lunch or an appetizer, or 3-5 for a main course. This recipe is for 4 people.

Grilled Doves La Mancha

Printable Recipe

Serves 4


■12 doves

■Kosher salt

■3 tablespoons olive oil

■12 bay leaves

■12 sage leaves

■Spanish smoked paprika

■Freshly ground black pepper

■About 1/4 cup melted bacon fat


1.Rub the doves with olive oil and salt them well. Stuff each cavity with a sage and a bay leaf.

2.Grill over medium-high to high heat with the breast side up for 6-8 minutes. Do not let them char!

3.Turn them over and grill for 4-6 minutes. Paint them with the bacon fat.

4.Turn the doves on their sides and grill for 1-2 minutes — for each side. Paint with more bacon fat.

5.Remove to a platter and paint with the remaining bacon fat. Dust with the smoked paprika and the black pepper. Let them rest for 5 minutes.

6.Eat with your fingers and serve with a Rioja red wine, a California Pinot Noir or an Italian Barbaresco — and a bowl to put the bones in.

Photo Holly Heyser

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pancetta Crisp with Goat Cheese & Pear

An elegant appetizer just in time for Fall.  Although I haven't done so, I would think you could substitute Roquefort cheese or blue cheese for the goat cheese. Also make sure you buy pears that are still firm and drizzle a few drops of lemon juice over them so they don't loose their color.

Yield: Makes 6 servings


12 thin slices pancetta (about 1/3 lb.)

1 Bartlett pear

1/2 (4-oz.) package goat cheese, crumbled

Freshly cracked pepper


Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs


1. Arrange pancetta slices in a single layer on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.

2. Bake at 450° for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined wire rack using a spatula. Let stand 10 minutes or until crisp.

3. Core pear with an apple corer. Cut pear crosswise into 12 thin rings. Arrange on a serving platter. Top evenly with pancetta and goat cheese; sprinkle with pepper. Drizzle with honey just before serving. Garnish, if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Southern Living 2007

Friday, September 3, 2010

Creamed Corn, Southern Style

Although I have a hard time with the Neeleys chit chat on TV, I have to admit that as far as Southern food is concerned, they sometimes have good recipes.  This is one of them.  It is as authentic as they come and slightly different from the Creamed Corn recipe posted on my other blog which does not have bacon.  Check that one out if you are concerned with too much fat.


8 ears corn, husked

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup cold water

2 tablespoons bacon grease

1 tablespoons butter


In a large bowl, cut the tip off cob. Cut the kernels from cob with a small paring knife. Using the back of the blade, scrape against the cob to press out the milky liquid.

Whisk together sugar, flour, and salt and pepper, to taste. Combine with corn. Add the heavy cream and water. Mix.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat bacon grease. Add corn mixture and turn heat down to medium-low, stirring until it becomes creamy, about 30 minutes.

Add the butter right before serving.

Recipe Food Network


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