Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Gifts

One of our side dishes at my house for Christmas was these lovely tomatoes, all from my garden, ripening on the window sills and the perfect gift in the middle of a blustery snowy cold Christmas day...A promise kept by Summer...she never lets me down.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Me and Thomas!

Funny story... though it looks like I am being grabbed by Thomas Keller...well, OK!
If you have the chance , grab the book too!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Meyer Lemon and Vanilla Bean Marmalade

One of my cooks ( Melody, thanks so much!) recently made me this jam from her mother's Meyer Lemon tree. She said it was sunshine in a jar and well, she wasn't kidding. I really needed this on a gloomy cold Saturday morning. It was in a word...Perfection. Bright and lemony with a hint of Tropical climes and the heady aftertaste of luscious vanilla, in a way that vanilla could never be on its own. It was a very thoughtful gift of homemade love....and its ALL MINE.

I am not sure what recipe Melody used for this but here is one from Epicurious that you might enjoy..


  • 1 1/4 pounds Meyer lemons
  • 5 cups water

  • 5 1/2 cups (about) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • Pinch of salt

    Working on large plate to catch juice, cut lemons in half lengthwise, then very thinly crosswise. Discard seeds. Pack enough lemons and any juice to measure 2 1/2 cups. Transfer to large nonreactive pot. Add 5 cups water; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand uncovered overnight.

    Measure lemon mixture (there should be about 5 1/2 cups). Return to same pot. Add equal amount of sugar (about 5 1/2 cups). Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Add pinch of salt. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Attach clip-on candy thermometer. Maintaining active boil and adjusting heat to prevent boiling over, cook until temperature reaches 230°F, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Transfer to jars. Cover and chill. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Keep refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

and here are some more rantings about this lovely confectionery bliss of wonderful breakfast anytime goodness sunshine in a jar! Click here for Food Gal's version of perfection!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Dinner Menu Winter 09

Come in soon for some hearty and warm new dinner entrees, or if you are a regular come in to see our Winter twist on your menu favorites... Sea bass with orange marmalade gastrique, local garlic greens...

Roasted Chicken Saltimboca with Butternut Squash and sage brown butter...

Linguine with pancetta and clams in a cracked peppercorn broth...

Strip steak with fingerling potatoes, melted leeks and bleu cheese pan sauce...

Quail with barbocoa confit stuffed poblano...

or Dry rubbed rack of lamb with pear balsamic mint compote.

See you soon and Happy Holidays to all!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tomato Leaf Soap

As promised and in just enough time (there was snow on the ground this morning!) here is the recipe for tomato leaf soap. I forgot to take photo during the process but here are a few of the finished project!

tomato leaf soap

* Note: do not heat glycerin soap above 160 degrees! or it will sweat once hardened.

Tomato Leaf Soap
Use as a gardeners soap or hand soap in late Winter or early Spring when the urge to grow something in the ground is almost unbearable. The smell of this soap will immediately transport you to a warm hillside in Tuscany.

Makes two bars:

8 ounces unscented clear glycerin soap
8 ounces of fresh tomato leaves and their stems. (this is more than you think)
2 extra ounces tomato leaves, no large stems
2 drops grapefruit essential oil
2 drops lavender essential oil.

1 large heavy saucepan, 1 wooden spoon, 1 slotted spoon, 1 large bowl with a pour spout side, 1 large strainer, 2 soap molds or other containers. (I used two plastic Glad tupperware containers)

In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the glycerin soap until liquefied. Add the 8 ounces of tomato leaves and stems pushing down to submerse all of the leaves. Keep the soap on low and using a wooden spoon press the leaves to extract the chlorophyll and scent. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in both of the essential oils. The soap will be a natural colored green and smell lovely. Place the smaller amount of leaves into a large bowl (I used a bowl with a funnel side for pouring, this will help later). Pour the heated soap mixture into a strainer set over the large pour spout bowl. Press down to remove soap from leaves. Discard original leaves and remove the second set of leaves from strained soap mixture with a slotted spoon. Quickly pour the soap into clean molds. Let harden for three hours and remove by turning the mold upside down and popping out with your fingers. Enjoy!