Monthly Archives: November 2014

Pineapples From Where?

The other day I took my bi-monthly trip to my favorite Green Grocer.  As I walked around the store deciding what all I wanted to buy, I could smell something familiar.  I turned a corner and there it was.

Gorgeous Pineapples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pineapples

Pineapples from where?

But they’re from where?  “Product or Costa Rica/Mexico”.  It’s the Del Monte Gold Pineapple, really delicious; they cost how much?  $2.99 EACH!!!  WHAT?!

Very little Pineapple is still grown in Hawaii any longer, mainly due to the value of land.  Del Monte left the Pineapple business in Hawaii back in 2008, leaving only 2% of the World’s Pineapple production to Maui Land and Pine and Dole.  You can still take a box of Pineapples home to the Mainland (2-3 Pineapples per 10 pound box) for about $24.00.  Not exactly cheap, but at least you can enjoy a little piece of Aloha long after your vacation.  When we still lived in Kaneohe and would go to visit relatives on the mainland, I would order a box shipped ahead of us to our host family.  They were gobbled up in no time flat.

A HUI HOU! (Until we meet)

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Cannoli Ice Cream Cake

A few weeks back, DH and I were invited to a dinner party by a neighbor down the road a piece.  Of course I asked if there was something we could bring.  “Oh my dear, you’re such a good cook, could you make the dessert?”  Sure, not a problem.  How many guests will there be, I asked?  14 our hostess replied.  Hmmm, what to make for that number of people, I pondered.  Ah, then I remembered that my gal pal who owns and runs her own restaurant in Colorado sent me a recipe for Cannoli Ice Cream Cake.  She told me that she had been making this all Summer long and it sold out every night.

 

Cannoli Ice Cream Cake

6 C. Vanilla Ice Cream (I used an entire carton of Blue Bunny Premium, 1.75 qts.)

1 ½ C. Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese (I like Polly-O brand)

¾ C. Sweet Orange Marmalade

6 Tbsp. Dark Chocolate, chopped (I had some Ghirardelli Bittersweet chips and chopped those)

6 Tbsp. Pistachio Nuts, chopped (I like big chunks)

¼ tsp. Vanilla Extract

¼ tsp. ground Cinnamon

Crust:

6 Almond Biscotti Cookies (not the dipped or frosted type, just plain)

4 Tbsp. melted Butter

 

Start with your crust.

Break the cookies into big pieces, adding them to the bowl of a food processor; add the melted butter and pulse the machine until you have nice crumbs, not too fine.  Turn this out onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a 350⁰ oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool completely.

Let’s assemble.

In a large bowl, scoop out the Ice Cream and allow to soften just a bit, not too much though, you don’t want soup.  Add the remaining ingredients (not the cookie crumbs though) and mix well with a wooden spoon (I just thought of something, my Stand Mixer would have worked well for this).

Line a 9 inch spring form cake pan with plastic wrap, leaving enough excess hanging over the sides, to be able to cover the top once it’s filled.  Pour the Ice Cream mixture into the pan and smooth the top using an off-set spatula.  Sprinkle the cookie crumbs evenly over the top, just barely pressing them in to adhere.  Fold the plastic wrap over the top to cover well.  You might want to get extra plastic to be sure it doesn’t pick up any funky tastes.

Stash in the freezer at least over night, but 24 hours is best.

To serve, release the form, peel away the plastic and transfer to a platter, this might be tricky.  Allow to soften for about 5-10 minutes, slice and share.

Cannoli Ice Cream Cake

One of the other guests asked our hostess where she bought this Ice Cream cake and she told them that I had made it.  “Drat!  I was hoping it was something I’d be able to buy somewhere.”

ENJOY!

My Apron Obsession Is Yet Again Perpetuated

My New Apron!

Yep.  If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know that I have a thing for aprons.  My chefy gal pal in Colorado sent me a new one!  Can you see where this one is from?  The Fetzer Vineyards, she knows me so well.  She and her loving hubby and gorgeous puppy-girl Greta have been spending their winters in California for the past couple of years and she thought of me.  Mahalo, thank you my sistah!

South Philly Cheesesteaks In The Middle Of The Desert

You heard right friends.  When DH and I first moved here, we went hunting for places to eat; seeing as my husband is originally from the Philadelphia area, we look for such establishments.  We found Frankie’s South Philly Cheesesteaks right off, I can’t remember the details now, but it was an authentic Cheesesteak on an Amoroso roll!  It seems that Frankie and Deb Santos have the rolls shipped in daily from Philadelphia.  Frankie’s isn’t actually close by, it’s about a good 45 minute drive into town, which we don’t do very often.

This past weekend, my wonderful husband took me into town to buy me new walking shoes (we walk everyday so that we can eat all of these delicious foods) and what did I spy but Frankie’s along the way.  Let’s stop for lunch.

For myself, a six inch Cheesesteak with a small drink and fries.  DH ordered a 12 inch Cheesesteak Hoagie with hot peppers, too hot for me thanks.

Amoroso's rolls

But hey wait a minute, did you say that you now sell the rolls too Frankie? OKAY!  I bought a half dozen 12 inch rolls, frozen, PERFECT.  I keep a cold bag in the car, just in case, thank goodness.

Can you say Meatball sandwich?  Or how about an Italian Hoagie, or Taylor Ham sandwich or Peppers and Eggs sandwich… I could go on but I’ll stop now.

The Best Apple Cake I’ve Ever Had!

No, really.  Our Niece-in-law sent me this recipe and photo of her finished product.  I figured, Hmmm, I have all of these ingredients, I could make this today.  The original recipe came from my SIL, I gave it a couple of tweaks; I’m thinking that a good shot (or two) of Brandy, Apple Jack or Bourbon would be excellent in this cake Pat!

The Best Apple Cake I've Ever Had!

The Best Apple Cake I’ve Ever Had!

1 ½ C. Canola Oil (or Safflower any neutral oil)

3 Eggs

2 C. Sugar

2 tsp. Vanilla

3 C. All Purpose Flour

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1 ½ tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Salt

1 C. Chopped Nuts (I used Pecans)

1 C. Shredded Sweetened Coconut

3 C. Diced Apples, peeled and cored (I used Organic Fuji Apples)

 

Put everything except the last three ingredients into the bowl of Stand Mixer, beat well.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix until just incorporated.

Pour into a greased and floured tube pan (I used Pam® Baking Spray and a Bundt pan).

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350⁰ for 1 ½ hours.

 

Icing:

1 C. Light Brown Sugar

½ C. Butter (1 stick)

¼ C. Milk
Boil the Icing ingredients 2 ½ min. Pour over the cake while it’s hot, in the pan.  You might need to ‘help’ the icing pour down between the cake and the pan with a bamboo skewer or plastic knife.  Cool for about half an hour; run a plastic knife around the pan to loosen the cake and turn out on to a cooling rack.  You may have to redistribute the icing over the cake.

 

This is a Husband Approved Cake.

MMM, The Best Apple Cake

ENJOY!

Mountain Village and Telluride Colorado

WOW WOW WOW, did I say WOW!  How beautiful.  This has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, not sure why, but I guess because I’m from the middle of the Pacific Ocean and mountain towns intrigue me.

The drive through Arizona and then the Four Corners area is not what you would call necessarily pretty, but interesting never the less.  I spied an old time Seven Eleven store/Gas Station, DH said that he hadn’t seen one of those in years.  We saw several of them on this adventure, going through New Mexico.

DH indulged me and we stayed at The Inn at Lost Creek.  We had reserved a Studio Suite which has a fully equipped kitchenette, washer/dryer, EVERY THING!

If every you go to Telluride, I HIGHLY recommend this ski in/ski out hotel. Absolutely phenomenal, from the minute you pull up to the front door.  Top notch service, beautiful property, perfect location at the foot of the FREE gondola into Telluride or a number of chair lifts to the runs.

Salmon Salad @ Smak Bar

Now that's a Bloody Mary! We didn't order this, but can you see the garnish, a slider!

Now that’s a Bloody Mary! We didn’t order this, but can you see the garnish, a slider!

On our first night in town we had dinner at Smak Bar.

For me, a Salmon Salad that was terrific.  DH had a burger with a side salad rather than fries, good call.   That evening we simply strolled around Mountain Village.  Most of the restaurants and shops were closed; I asked around and it seems that folks take off and have their own vacations in October and return just before Thanksgiving.

Lobster Omelette @ The Inn at Lost Creek

Breakfast at our hotel was included and it’s wasn’t continental either.  There was a beautiful buffet with cold and hot cereal, scrambled eggs, real eggs, home fries, sausages, bacon, smoked salmon, assorted breads, juice, coffee OR you could order one item from their menu.  DH had the buffet and I the Lobster omelette, yum!

We took the gondola ride into Telluride to take a look see around on Day 2.  This takes you from one side of the mountain over to the other in about 15 minutes, and what a ride.  The views are stunning.

We walked around Telluride, just meandering, looking in shops, stopping in the parks and just sitting.  Lots of sitting, the elevation is over 9,000 feet, take your time walking.

Time for lunch.  We found Smuggler’s Brew Pub.  We ordered a BLT with fries and beautiful mixed green salad with Goat Cheese, Pears and Walnuts, we shared.  I did not know that DH liked Goat Cheese, I always thought that he didn’t, who knew.

The gondola ride into Mountain Village

The ride back to Mountain Village was just as impressive.

Dinner this evening was at La Pizzeria.  For the table to share was Lasagna Bolognese, a side salad and a Mushroom Pizza.  Delicious!  I ordered a glass of Sangiovese wine and my husband did something that I hadn’t seen him do in years, he took a sip and order one for himself.  Boy, he must have been really relaxed here, he doesn’t drink, well, enough to mention anyways, but he said it tasted just like the homemade wine his Uncle would make.

The public Hot Springs in Ouray Colorado

Ouray Colorado

Have you heard of it?  You probably haven’t, we hadn’t either, that is until watching a television program which inspired this whole trip.  Ouray is best known for their public Hot Springs, but I forgot our bathing suits, dang it!  The drive was gorgeous riding along the Rocky Mountains, capped in snow and the beautiful Fall Colors in the trees.  There had been some snow in the higher elevations just a few days prior.

We spent the better part of the late morning and early afternoon strolling along Main Street and window shopping.

But what was that?  Did I hear a stomach growl?  Our lunch stop this day was at Cavallo’s Restaurant, just in the nick of time too.  DH had a bowl (not a cup mind you) of Gumbo and a Chopped Salad; for me the Shrimp Remoulade Salad.  That bowl was a bit much, so I helped my husband finish that off, great stuff!

Majestic Rocky Mountains

Our drive back to Mountain Village was no less beautiful; we found this pull out to take photos.

The weather was starting to turn, so we decided that a nice cup of Chicken and Dumpling soup and a salad to share for dinner would do us fine.  I got take out from Tracks Café & Bar, conveniently just steps off the back porch of our hotel.  Perfect.  We snuggled up in our super comfortable room and drifted off to sleep.

We woke up the next morning to sleet and freezing rain.  This did not bode well for our travels.  We were off to Durango to visit with friends for the night, on our way back home; taking the “Million Dollar Highway”, a AAA recommended drive, BUT, not a great idea in this mess, maybe next time.  So we went the opposite direction and just as well, there was snow at 7,000 foot level, YIKES!  We don’t have four-wheel drive or snow tires and chains, but we made it in one piece and found our favorite hotel in Durango, the Best Western Mountain Shadows.

We had an early morning wake up and hit the wagon trail for home with supplies in hand of course.  The night before, we stopped in a grocery store and bought the makings of a very nice pasta salad, as well as some fruit for our planned lunch spot in Show Low Arizona.  We found the City Park during one of our previous travels and it serves as the best pit stop and break from driving for awhile.

Where too next is anyone’s guess.

ALOHA!