I have been up to my eyeballs in paperwork- the bank, the lawyer, the state taxation dept …. But it so with it. Sat in on two bridal consultations and absolutely loved it! Can’t wait to have the bakery be mine but I the meantime I am there frequently and learning about a business section that a year ago I would never had thought I would be in. Here I am about to encounter a whole new career! So much fun!
So, this is going to be a little different as I have some big news to share. After over 30 years, my dream of owning a bakery/cafe is finally coming true! Yes, after my first summer on Martha’s Vineyard, I decided that I wanted my own bakery/cafe/bistro. As the years have gone by, I have changed my dream a little but it has always been there in my head going around and around. Now, I am a very lucky person because when I met Matt he listened to my dream and over the last 27 years he has joined me in dreaming of the bakery and bistro.
This past winter we decided that we were in the right place to begin working towards achieving the dream. We have seen too many people our age not be able to reach their dreams because of illness, family issues, etc. We surprisingly just started networking, looking through ads, etc. and there it was on Craig’s List. Long story short, we are now in negotiations to buy the business. The couple selling are just like Matt and I and they had the dream to start this and now we can take it over and build it to another level but add our part to it. It is so exciting!!! I can’t stand it. So, now I am multitasking trying to meet with everyone, still keeping up with the baking and I have notebooks all over the house with my thoughts, designs and questions.
Friends, you will be hearing from me daily as I can’t tell anyone here yet because it is not final with the bank but I am bursting to talk about this wonderful happening! So, you will get the day-by-day account of what is going on.
But for today, this is it. I have to get myself in gear and start baking for the last winter market day tomorrow. Did I tell you that I am also participating in a Biggest Looser’s program so that I can be back at my good weight when I take over the business? No, guess not…Yea„,its kicking my butt but I am doing it with Caitlin and she is pushing me to my max. I never knew I could lift weights at 57 and 3/4! LOL but I am!
Enjoy the sunshine dear friends….enjoy life….don’t be afraid to dream…they do come true! Bon Appetit!
I am baking Irish Soda Bread today and tomorrow. I can’t believe how easy it is to do! Just tasted a slice with raspberry jam while it was still warm from the oven. Yummy! But I have to say, scones are still better!
This is an incredibly light dinner and is perfect if you are looking for something different! I have realized that this winter I really got into “comfort food” and thus, have pants that are too tight. As it is time to take hold of this situation, I am now on the mission of lightening up my meals, staying away from so many sweets (ugh..this is hard seeing I bake so much) and yes, dropping back on so many of those tasty carbs).
I found this recipe in an old Weight Watcher cookbook and I made some changes to the fish ingredients and some spices so that it became more of my taste. I can say, it is pretty low fat and if you are conservative with the risotto, not too bad carb-wise. I cooked up fresh asparagus to go along with it so that i could add color and veggies to my meal. It is mild in flavor,you can taste the shrimp and scallops, and its a little cheesy. Matt added some Old Bay Seasoning to his but he likes more spice than I do. Let me know if you add anything different….Bon Appetit!
Makes 4 Servings:
3 cups Vegetable broth
1 cup dry white wine
4 tsp. olive oil
2 medium onions finely chopped
4 minced garlic cloves
1 1/3 cups Arborio rice
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
1/2 lb. scallops
2 cups spinach leaves
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 Tbs. grated parmesan cheese
Sprinkle with Parsley
In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil and reduce heat and add wine. Simmer.
In a large saute pan, over medium heat, heat oil and sauté onion for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté for 2-3 mins. Add the dry rice and continue to cook.
Add 1 cup of broth liquid and the dried herbs and cook, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed. Add 1/2 cup more until absorbed and keep stirring. Add the shrimp and the scallops and cook until the liquid is absorbed and then add an additional 1/2 cup.(keep stirring) Add the spinach, salt and pepper and the last of the broth and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice begins to look softened. This may vary in time but keep an eye on it. You don’t want it to get too sticky (add more broth if you can) or not to cook. You can tell if the rice is still hard by taking some out and tasting it. I can tell by the look also as it is still firm looking.
Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and sprinkle with parsley before serving. This would also be tasty with sliced mushrooms added or maybe sliced red peppers. I am going to try that next time.
I am back…it has been a busy start to the New Year to say the least. As you know, I am trying to get “The Half Moon Bakery” off the ground so that takes up a lot of my time. I have missed my Tumblr postings and promise to be more consistent from now on. I actually have been re-vamping the style a little and hope to make further changes to the site.
Wow, I have read a lot of blogs these days and I just feel so amazed by all of the women out there who have a passion for baking and cooking! The recipes are fantastic and so creative. I get caught up following from one blog to another and before you know it, I haven’t posted myself. Sorry! If you have a few minutes, I would suggest just going to Pinterest and finding a cooking or baking post. From there you can begin the travels from one site to another. It is fun to see recipes from other countries too.
With the bakery, I have been baking (duh.) so much that our meals have been pretty boring as far as I am concerned. Then, I had carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand, so cooking and baking has been almost impossible. I am regaining use of the hand now so with the help of my assistant (hubby Matt and head dishwasher too) I am back at the stove. Yea!!
So, here is a meal that can be prepared in one day or if you are short on time, begin it the day before and finish it up the next day. The pork chops are a wonderful alternative to chicken and yet, with trimming the fat off most of the chops, they are not too bad of an alternative. The golden glow of the onions and sauce give off a warm and inviting look when you present this at the table. Of course, the melted Gouda also is very appealing. I like to serve the sauce on the side so that I can control how much is on my plate. This recipe can be doubled for 8 servings and is just as tasty but the pork chops have to be cooked in two batches.
It feels good to be able to share a warm and comforting meal with you again. I hope that you get a chance to try this out soon! If you are already thinking dessert, check out my past posts for some good choices….Bon Appetit!
Pork Chops Smothered with
Caramelized Onions and Smoked Gouda
5 Tbs. Canola Oil
4 1” thick center cut pork chops
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika
6 cups of sliced onions (about 3 large)
1 tsp. Sugar
3 teaspoons minced garlic
3 cups beef broth (a little more if needed)
¼ cup of smoked gouda (a little more if you want J)
2 Tbs. butter
Preheat oven to 350^. In a large skillet, heat 3 Tbs. of oil over high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and then dredge in 1 cup of flour, shake off extra and then sauté in pan until browned. About 3 mins. Per side. Place the pork in a large glass baking dish/casserole. Sprinkle 1 tsp. Of the paprika over the pork chops. Set aside.
Wipe skillet clean. Add 2 Tbs. of oil and heat over medium heat. Add onions; sprinkle with sugar and sauté until well browned; stirring often. Its about 20 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 Tbs. paprika. Stir and sauté for about a minute more.
Place onions over the pork chops in the casserole. Pour enough broth over the pork chop/onion mixture. Cover with foil. Bake until the pork chops are tender—about 45 minutes.
**All of the above can be done a day in advance if you want to make this during the week. Just refrigerate after everything is baked. As you do the next step, make sure that this is warmed to room temp.
NEXT, reduce oven to 250^. Take pork out of the casserole and set aside. Pour the contents of the casserole into a strainer set over a bowl. Return the onion mixture back to the casserole. Place pork chops on top of the onions. Sprinkle the top with Gouda cheese. Set it back in the oven to keep warm.
NEXT, in a saucepan, melt butter and then add 4 Tbs. of flour and whisk until the mixture begins to color; about 4 mins. Gradually whisk in the broth and bring it to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil until thickend; season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the pork and onions to a platter and serve the sauce on the side.
Sprinkle a little paprika over the top.
This is a good meal with rice pilaf or buttered noodles.
The last week was a whirlwind of baking—everything from sugar cookies to a Quiche Lorraine. Yes, it was hectic but I have to say, I loved every minute of it. Now, I am sitting here looking over blogs for new recipes. What is wrong with me? I just love pouring over recipes and cookbooks. My sister and I were laughing because I got a cookbook on Whoopie Pies for Christmas and I can’t wait to read it. I often wonder who else likes to actually read a cookbook ? So, its snowing outside, the coffee is made, split pea soup on the stove and I am in my flannel pants and a comfy sweatshirt. Today will be a lounging day and, yes, I will read my new cookbook! I hope all of you are enjoying this holiday season. Thank you to everyone who has shared their wonderful recipes with me and all of us this past year. And thank you for following me. I love to hear from you. Happy Holidays and Bon Appetit!
This tradition began 6 years ago as a way to bring the various generation of women in our family together to celebrate the holiday. My sister-in-law, Cindy had been diagnosed with with colon cancer, Aunt Hattie was experiencing heart issues and we just felt that we might not always be together. As the holidays is about family, I decided to bring us together for some laughter and, of course, good food.
My teacher background begins to show up at events like this. I googled holiday games and thought of different activities to keep the party full of laughter as we all struggled with the realities of life. We all brought 6 dozen cookies, baked from our recipe collections, and we sampled the cookies and each got to bring home a variety.
We played silly games, like musical gift, Christmas Song trivia and ripping out a tree with the paper behind our backs. We munched on our favorite appetizers and ate cookies and cake. Of course, we all enjoy a glass of wine or two, so the wine was plentiful.
Fast forward to today: Now, we have multiple generations. Aunt Hattie is still with us at 94 and we have Paula’s daughters, Kerry(15) and Sarah(11) joining us as the youngest girls. Aunt Joan, grandmother to Kerry and Sarah, wows us each year with her holiday sweater/top. My daughter, Caitlin now joins us willingly and even invited one of her best friends, Brittany to join us. My nieces, Meghan and Ashley (Zach’s wife) now participate and even brought a friend, Bridgett to join us. Cindy’s mother, Sally and my mother-in-law, LInda are always a fun pair as they have been friends since elementary school! Though Cindy is no longer with us in physical presence, she will always be in our hearts as we come together each year.
At the conclusion of the evening, we have a gift exchange where we each bring an inexpensive gift. We go in chronological order to either pick a gift or “steal” an already chosen gift from someone. This is quite a lot of fun as the gifts travel from person- to - person. The traditional gift that travels, is the cookie jar Santa Pig. Nancy brought this the first year and it has gone around the group. Each year it mysteriously shows up, wrapped and ready for a new owner. This year, Sarah chose it. She seems pretty happy with it and said that we may not see it next year! We will see.
I feel blessed that in these times of sadness and uncertainty, that I have my family and I never miss the chance to say thank you and to hold them tight! I am a very lucky person today. Bon Appetit!
I just made some of these for someone as she has to give some gifts to delivery people, and some local folks. They are so cute! I remember when they first came out years ago. Amazing how some things don’t go away—I guess if its good why should it go away?
Christmas countdown—get ready! Bon Appetit.
Too busy, can’t blog, busy cooking and baking and don’t get to sit and enjoy it like everyone else but love to entertain. Who knows? Maybe soon, I can get back to blogging too.
Why do bad things have to happen to good people? There seems to be a never ending list…