Monday, May 30, 2011

A Memorial Day to Remember

Happy Memorial Day!
I am sure many of you are in full grilling mode at this moment. Unless, like myself you were fortunate to be invited somewhere. Then the only dilemma is what appetizer you should bring. There are so many from which to chose. But I dare say, this one is a winner. Tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil on a stick. If you are in a appetizer rut, like I was, this has all the appeal. Quick, fresh, delicious. The added perk is that summer decided to join us today, and when summer is here to stay, cranking up the oven is just so... not needed in this case.

So, as I enjoyed the spectacular feast prepared by my mother, I surprised her with old photos I dug out. Her wedding day photos from 50 years ago on May 27Th. This marks quite an accomplishment, considering the times we are living in. For me my parents anniversary and memorial holiday coinciding is the way it has always been. Some things in life are great when they stay the way they have always been. Just not your appetizer!

The flavors of the tomato, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil taste like fresh picked summer.
10.5 ounce package of grape tomatoes, wash and pat dry
Fresh basil, rip leaves into bite size pieces
Fresh mozzarella, you can cut into bite size pieces or buy pearl
Balsamic vinaigrette
Tooth picks or small skewers

Alternate on skewer, tomato, basil and cheese. When finished with assembly of the skewers, drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. Ready to serve.

Note: I used more than half of the 10 ounce package of tomatoes for 6 adults. The great thing about this recipe is you can keep making until you have enough for a big crowd, or make for a smaller group. Serve as a snack, appetizer or on the go lunch.
If you would like to substitute the fresh mozzarella for low fat, this is great for those who want a lower calorie option.

Basil is a good source of vitamin A, which helps to prevent free radical damage to our cells. Vitamin A also prevents free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the blood stream, thus preventing cholesterol from building up in blood vessels.
Basil also contains magnesium. This essential mineral helps the heart and blood vessels to relax, improving blood flow. Other nutrients found in basil include iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pyramids to plates...

I was very excited to see this article. After all, when I think of pyramids, I think ancient. Plates are a positive symbol. The picture above is my grandma Charlotte's china plate. I say Congratulations to Michelle Obama for a job well done!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Morels and Morals?

Whew, we are still here. The world didn't end. If it had, I bet this recipe would have been on the 'Welcome Home' feast. I am talking about morels. They are tasty little devils... I mean mushrooms.

Morel season has just hit Traverse City. Many comb the woods looking for this treasure. My daughter found these morels growing near her favorite tree in our yard. ( Yes, at 4 she knows how to spot a morel!) With spring being a bit late this year, now is the time to take full advantage of hunting for morels. The taste of morels is not like any other mushroom, so if you are not a mushroom lover, this may be the one for you to try!

Morels have a more refined taste, not like the earth or dirt. Recipes with morels, in my opinion, should be simple enough so the truly amazing taste of the morel is not over powered by the other ingredients. This recipe is inspired by my love of pasta with mushrooms. They compliment one another. Of course, I must say, sauteing morels with real butter, and a pinch of sea salt is still one of my all time favorite ways to eat this gift from nature.

Morel Fettuccine

Serves 4 to 6


1/2 stick unsalted butter

1/8 cup chopped scallions

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 Tablespoons sherry ( may use Cognac)

1 1/2 pounds fresh morels, rinsed, drained and patted dry

1 pound fresh fettuccine ( may use boxed)

1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

salt and pepper to taste


Boil a pot of water. When water is boiling add fettuccine. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes.

*Use 1 quart of water for every 4 ounces of pasta you plan to cook.

In a saute pan, melt butter and add scallions. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes. Add whipping cream and sherry. Stir and reduce heat. Add morels and let simmer , covered for 15 minutes.

When pasta is ready, drain and set pot aside. Add the Parmesan cheese to the morel mixture and stir well until melted completely. Spoon over pasta and serve.

This recipe is quick and easy, which is terrific after a day hunting in the forest.