Book Club Salad

I belong to a book club that meets every six weeks or so.  Each member takes a turn selecting the book and hosting that meeting. We meet for dinner so the host is responsible for the entree and the rest of us choose which course we will supply.  As a rule, we have tried to match the food to the theme or location of the book.  Our last selection was “Crossing the Borders of Time” by Leslie Maitland.  This book tells the true story of a young Jewish girl, the author’s mother, as her family moves from Germany to France then on to Cuba and the USA to avoid persecution and deportation at the hands of the Nazi’s.

My food assignment for this book club was salad.  Because the book covered life in a multitude of countries I had alot of options.  I opted to go with a German salad as that was the original home of the family.  The salad I found was perfect for spring and you can definitely see the German influence.

Asparagus Salad                          Serves 4 – 6

  • 1 1/2 lbs asparagus
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 5 green onions, sliced – green and white parts
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced (more if the radishes are small)
  • 2 tbl white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbl grapeseed oil ( can substitute vegetable oil)
  • 1 tbl dijon mustard
  • 2tbl chopped parsley

Snap off tough ends of asparagus and discard.  Cut asparagus into bite size pieces and blanch in salted water until crisp – tender, about 5 minutes at altitude.  Drain the asparagus and put in large mixing bowl.  Add chopped eggs, sliced green onions and sliced radishes to the bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  In a separate bowl or a dressing shaker combine the white wine vinegar, oil and mustard.  Stir/shake until well combined.  Pour dressing over asparagus mixture and mix gently.  Check for seasoning.  Garnish with the chopped parsley.

A simple salad that could easily be turned into a meal with chicken breasts that have been brushed with a brown or dijon mustard and then baked or broiled.  You wouldn’t even need a starch!

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Red’s Last Day

Tuesday was Red’s last day at the Sandhill Crane Bed and Breakfast.  He had to be in the East Mountains by 2:30 and there was still alot of ground to cover.

Like many of the guests at Sandhill Crane, he wanted to have his picture taken in front of the sign and the metal crane logo on the adobe entrance gate.

Red gets his picture taken in front of the sign to commemorate his visit to the Sandhill Crane Bed and Breakfast.

Red gets his picture taken in front of the sign to commemorate his visit to the Sandhill Crane Bed and Breakfast.

Red can't resist a picture with the Sandhill Crane logo mounted on the adobe entrance portal.

Red can’t resist a picture with the Sandhill Crane logo mounted on the adobe entrance portal.

He wishes he could be here when the flowers are blooming under the sign but the timing was not in his favor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After packing up his travel journals Red, Judith and George headed out to visit Casa San Ysidro, an original adobe ranch home built in the 1870’s.  It is furnished with period pieces and depicts life from that period on a New Mexico ranch. Red was interested to learn that the building and some of the furnishings were on Antiques Road Show several years ago.   The buildings were filled with school children on a field trip so Red had to admire the museum from the sign.

Red reads about Casa San Ysidro in Corrales.

Red reads about Casa San Ysidro in Corrales.

The old San Ysidro Church in Corrales.

The old San Ysidro Church in Corrales.

 

He also had a chance to visit the Old San Ysidro church.  It was built in 1868 and, as it is adobe, it must be re-mudded every year.  George pointed out the corner he worked on a few years ago.

The church was deconsecrated in the early 1960′s and eventually sold by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe to the Corrales Historical Society.  Today many wonderful concerts and art shows take place in the Old Church.  It is a favorite spot for weddings.

 

 

The last stop of the day was the top of the mountain. As the tram wasn’t running, Red was driven to the top of the mountain for a fantastic

Red looks out towards the Sangre de Christo mountains and Santa Fe from the Sandia Crest.

Red looks out towards the Sangre de Christo mountains and Santa Fe from the Sandia Crest.

view of the area.  Red learned that the mountain ranges in this part of New Mexico are part of the southern Rockies.  On a very clear day you can see Texas and Colorado from the peak.  At over 10,500 feet there was still snow on the ground at the crest and it was a little cold so he didn’t linger.

Red looks south towards the Manzano mountains from the Sandia Crest.

Red looks south towards the Manzano mountains from the Sandia Crest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was on to his next host. He was sad to say goodbye to his hosts, Judith and George from the Sandhill Crane B&B but more adventures await and he knows he’ll be back this way again!

Innkeepers Note:  We will miss Red.  After dropping him off at his next stop we returned to the inn and felt a loss at not having to take Red out of the back seat!  Safe Travels Red.

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Monday in Corrales with Red

Monday, fortified by a hearty breakfast, Red was off on further adventures.  His first stop was the Corrales Bosque – the green belt located along the Rio Grande.

Red sits on the bank of the Rio Grande.

Red sits on the bank of the Rio Grande.

Red soaked in the sun along the bank of the Rio Grande and watched the river, swollen and cold from winter snow high in the mountains, go streaming by his perch.

 

Red finds one of the few beaches on the Rio Grande!

Red finds one of the few beaches on the Rio Grande!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the river basin Red traveled to Petroglyph National Monument to take in all of the images left behind by the Native Americans.  He was surprised by the many ancient images of macaws scratched into the volcanic rock.

Petroglyph National Monument

Petroglyph National Monument

 

 

Red admires petroglyphs left by the early people of this area.  He was especially intrigued by this Macaw.

Red admires petroglyphs left by the early people of this area. He was especially intrigued by this Macaw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next stop was Old Town Albuquerque.  Red had a chance to rest awhile in the gazebo on Old Town Plaza and take in the view of San Felipe de Neri, the Catholic parish that has served this area for over 300 years.

Old town plaza

While in Old Town Red also visited the sculpture garden located at the Albuquerque Museum.  His favorite was a cowboy and his horse.

One of the many sculptures located in the Sculpture Garden at the Albuquerque Museum.

One of the many sculptures located in the Sculpture Garden at the Albuquerque Museum.

After a quick lunch stop it was on to hiking in the Sandia Mountains. This is a perfect time to hike in the mountains; the temperature is perfect and there aren’t alot of people on the trails.  This doesn’t mean you don’t have to be alert.  The bears are coming out of hibernation and so are the rattlesnakes.  Red is well protected from snake bites and his human friends wear jeans and hiking boots – no shorts and sandals for them!

Hiking in the mountains means staying alert and staying on the path!

Hiking in the mountains means staying alert and staying on the path!

After our hike we thought Red would enjoy a visit to the Tram. Too bad it is closed for maintenance until April 18.  Red would have enjoyed a ride on the world’s longest tram.  The views are spectacular and it’s the fastest way to get to the top of the mountain!

Sandia Peak Tram - an experience every visitor to our area should have!

Red takes a look at one of the Tram cars that travel to the top of the mountain.  He learned that every morning a maintenance person rides ON TOP OF THE CAR all the way to the top and back down again to inspect the cables.  Red stated he did not want THAT job!

Red takes a look at one of the Tram cars that travel to the top of the mountain. He learned that every morning a maintenance person rides ON TOP OF THE CAR all the way to the top and back down again to inspect the cables. Red stated he did not want THAT job!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the tram Red headed over to the Albuquerque Balloon Museum. Red was disappointed to learn he won’t be here for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  Beginning the first weekend ion October and continuing on to the next weekend, the fiesta welcomes 700+ hot air balloons of all shapes (Darth Vader, the Creamland Cow and a a Flying Pig are just three of the very special shapes) and sizes.  He was equally disappointed that the balloon museum was closed on the day he chose to visit.  With artifacts from the Hindenburg, early ballooning and Hydrogen ballooning it is a unique place to visit and  good reason to come back.

Red admires some of the special shape balloons depicted on the pottery decorations outside the Museum.

Red admires some of the special shape balloons depicted on the pottery decorations outside the Museum.

By then Red was getting a little tired and thirsty so we headed over to the Corrales Bistro and Brewpub for a snack and a cold beverage before returning to the Sandhill Crane B&B.

corrales bistro

That evening Red enjoyed sitting under the pinon tree in the garden and watching the Sandias turn a vibrant red as the sun set.

Red sat under one of our Pinon trees next to a piece of whimsical artwork appropriately named Art!

Red sat under one of our Pinon trees next to a piece of whimsical artwork appropriately named Art!

Red learned that the last frost date in Corrales is the second week in May so he had to be content with man made flowers!

Red learned that the last frost date in Corrales is the second week in May so he had to be content with man made flowers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red experienced one of our magnificent sunsets on the Sandias from the portal of the Sandhill Crane B&B.

Red experienced one of our magnificent sunsets on the Sandias from the portal of the Sandhill Crane B&B.

 

This was Red’s last night at the Sandhill Crane and, as the sun set and the evening chill descended, Red found a warm spot by the kiva fireplace to dream of tomorrow’s adventures.

Kiva Fireplace at the Sandhill Crane Bed and Breakfast

Kiva Fireplace at the Sandhill Crane Bed and Breakfast

 

 

 

Posted in Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Art work, Bed and Breakfast, Corrales, Corrales Day Trips, Gardening, Innkeeping, National Forests, New Mexico, Sandhill Crane Bed and Breakfast, Southwestern Gardening, Southwestern States, The Red Chair | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunday with the Red Chair

Sunday morning, after a breakfast of an Asian pear, mango and raspberry salad, herbed scrambled eggs, seasoned home fires, Canadian bacon and muffins shared with other guests; Red was ready to take on the world!

The first stop on Red’s agenda was the Corrales Growers Market.     Corrales boasts many

Corrales conserves  farmland to maintain the unique nature of the Village.

Corrales conserves farmland to maintain the unique nature of the Village.

fine farms that offer a wide variety of produce.  Because Corrales is located in what is technically the high desert (Red drank plenty of water because he was over a mile high) it experiences four seasons.  The produce offered for sale at this market was mostly hardy greens and some root crops.  Red missed the chance to purchase fresh locally grown apples, peaches, raspberries and all manner of heirloom tomatoes, carrots and squash.

 

 

 

The folks at the Growers Market knew Red would be making an appearance and had a restored Farmall waiting for him to try out.  Red was amazed to see the Growers Market was as much a social event as commerce with locals, dogs in tow, visiting as they wandered between the booths.

Corrales Growers Marke

Corrales Growers Markeand had a restored Farmall waiting for him to try out.  Red was amazed to see the Growers Market was as much a social event as commerce with locals, dogs in tow, visiting as they wandered between the booths.

 

Al, Bonnie and Grif welcome the Red to the Growers Market! Grif painstakingly restored that Farmall and brought it to the market just for Red!  market k

Al, Bonnie and Grif welcome the Red to the Growers Market! Grif painstakingly restored that Farmall and brought it to the market just for Red!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next stop was the Frontier Mart – a mom and pop grocery store that has been a fixture in the village for over 36 years.  Red was confused; why would a grocery store be on his agenda?  He soon learned that this is no ordinary grocery store.

Hitching post Customer

Hitching post Customer

In addition to carrying a wide assortment of local products, the store has a well-used hitching post.   Red arrived just as one of Judith’s friends rode up to purchase a cup of coffee.  Red  learned there are a number of hitching posts in town; the Post office, the library, the village offices, and the Corrales Bistro and Brew Pub. This is country living! Red wanted to go for a ride but the saddle only had two stirrups – not enough for Red’s four legs.

Then it was on to the Corrales Winery.

Red joins the owners of Corrales Winery for a glass of their award winning Cabernet Sauvignon.

Red joins the owners of Corrales Winery for a glass of their award winning Cabernet Sauvignon.

Red had a chance to visit with the winery owners and discuss some of their award winning wines.  Red learned that Corrales lies in the Rio Grande Valley and that grapes and wine making has gone on here for over one hundred years.  There are several wineries in Corrales; it even has a wine tour! Unfortunately Red discovered he wouldn’t have time to visit them all.

Red gets a peak at the award winning Corrales Winery wines.

Red gets a peak at the award winning Corrales Winery wines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last stop of the day was the Corrales Bosque Gallery , one of many fine galleries  in Corrales.  Red spent some time admiring the artwork of many local artists.  Red learned that Corrales has a significant number of artists in residence and was sorry to hear he would miss the annual Corrales Art Studio Tour held in May.  He considered taking home a clay sculpture done by Mariana Roumell-Gasteyer that caught his fancy but wasn’t sure it would make the trip all the way back to Woods Hole!  Tomorrow – Red explores the wonders of Central New Mexico!

Red contemplates a whimsical sculpture outside the Corrales Bosque Gallery.

Red contemplates a whimsical sculpture outside the Corrales Bosque Gallery.

Red strongly considered a purchase of an  original ceramic piece by Marianna Roumell-Gasteyer at the Corrales Bosque Gallery.

Red strongly considered a purchase of an original ceramic piece by Marianna Roumell-Gasteyer at the Corrales Bosque Gallery.

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The Red Chair Is Here!

At long last, the Red Chair has arrived at the Sandhill Crane Bed and Breakfast.  For those of you who don’t know the story – The Red Chair is an actual red kitchen type chair that is making its way across the From Woods Hole on the east coast to California,  one B&B at a time.   The chair stays at each B&B for three days and then travels down the road to the next B&B.  The Sandhill Crane was one of only 4 B&B’s in New Mexico to be awarded a visit from the Red Chair.

The Red Chair Arrives!

The Red Chair Arrives!

The chair checked into the Sandhill Crane yesterday afternoon about 3:00.  It spent the afternoon and evening resting up for the three day adventure exploring Corrales and attractions a short drive from the Sandhill Crane Bed and Breakfast.  Check in tomorrow for photos and stories from Day One at the Sandhill Crane Bed and Breakfast!

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A Class of …None

Every year I donate a cooking class to Corrales MainStreet as part of their silent auction.  This past year was no different. I offered to do a Cajun Cooking class for three people – the most I can fit comfortably around the island.  Three people placed winning bids and today was the day the class was to be held.

Yesterday I sent a fair amount of time shopping for the items necessary for the class, making the Tasso, tweaking the recipes and generally getting ready.  This morning I began prepping at 8am, as soon as George left for work.  With a class start time of 11am you want to get busy early!

By 10:45 I was feeling pretty good.  The veggies were all cut up.  The proteins ready to be chopped, dessert was made ( it would not have finished if we made it in class) and I was ready to go.  11am came and went , 11:15, 11:30 still no people.  Finally gave up waiting at noon.  At least dinner is almost completely made!

Here’s what they missed:

Cajun Cooking Class

Sandhill Crane Bed and Breakfast

www.sandhillcranebandb.com

 http://sandhillcranebandb.wordpress.com/

 

Chicken and Seafood Jambalaya

  • 2.5 tbl Butter
  • 1 ¼ cup tasso
  • 1 cup Andouille Sausage
  • 1 ½ cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • ¾ cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 cup bite sized chicken pieces
  • 1 ½ tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp oregano
  • 1 ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¾ tsp thyme
  • 1 lb Roma Tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup green onion
  • 2 cups Rice – preferably Uncle Ben’s
  • 18 shrimp
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ¾ cups tomato sauce
  • ½ lb sea scallop (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large sauce pan, melt butter. Add Tasso and andouille and sauté until crisp.  Add onion, celery and bell pepper, sauté for 5 minutes more.  Add chicken and cook on high for 1 minute.  Add garlic, hot sauce, and seasonings, cook for three more minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook until chicken is tender, add tomato sauce and cook for 5 more minutes.  Stir in stock and bring to a boil.  Stir in green onions, add rice, shrimp and optional scallops, stir well.  Cover and bake for 20 minutes.

 

 

Louisiana Cole Slaw

  • 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 cups red apple
  • 1 cups grated carrot
  • ½ cup raisins
  • Coles Slaw dressing

 

Cole Slaw dressing

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup corn oil
  • 1 tbl Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

To make the dressing – Whisk egg yolks, and lemon juice.  Very slowly, add ½ cup oil.  Add seasonings and additional oil.  Thin out with water if needed.

 

Chocolate Truffle Torte

  • 1 ½ lbs semisweet Chocolate
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbl unsalted butter
  • cocoa powder for dusting

Line the bottom of a 9” springform pan with wax paper cut to fit.

Combine the chocolate, cream and butter in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Do not allow the chocolate to get too hot or it will seize up.  Remove from heat when the chocolate is completely melted and, using a balloon whisk, whisk until all ingredients are completely incorporated.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared springform pan.  Let cool, cover and chill for at least 6 hours or up to 48 hours before serving.

To remove the torte form the pan, run the blade of a small, sharp pointed knife around the edge of the torte to loosen it from the sides of the pan. Unclasp and remove the ring from the springform pan.  Run a long flat icing spatula between the bottom of the pan and the wax paper.  Invert the bottom of the pan, with the torte on it, onto a serving plate.  Remove the bottom of the pan and wax paper.  Dust with cocoa powder

Refrigerate any leftovers.

 

Creole Seasoning (Used for Tasso)

  • 2 1/2 tbl paprika – I use Spanish bittersweet paprika
  • 2 tbl salt
  • 2 tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tbl freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbl onion powder
  • 1 tbk cayenne pepper  - use more or less depending on how hot you like your seasoning
  • 1 tbl dried oregano
  • 1 tbl dried thyme

Mix all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to three months – mine doesn’t last that long.

There is no make-up class.  Oh well.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bed and Breakfast, Chicken, Cooking, Cooking class, Food, ham, Menus, New Orleans Food, Pork, Recipes, Smoked Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Super Bowl Dinner

Super Bowl Sunday is here.  It’s not that big of a deal for us – unless the Bears are playing – and even then I  think the commercials can be more entertaining than the game.  And then there are the wardrobe malfunctions.  I have to admit I missed the last major wardrobe malfunction – I was setting out the main course.  Usually we have light snacks for the fist half of the game and then I plate something heartier – like chili – during the half time show.  My thinking was I could be in the kitchen then as I believed there would be nothing “water cooler worthy” happening during half time.  Boy was I wrong. Now I only serve hearty appetizers and stay pretty close to the TV during half time. Of course nothing as note worthy has happened since!

So here’s today’s dinner menu. And let me warn you there is nothing on this menu that can be deemed healthy so don’t be looking for any redeeming features!

I have prepared  cheese and summer sausage on a platter arranged with a Boursin Cheese round and crackers, guacamole and chips, Little Smokies in barbecue sauce, deviled eggs and, for my “hot dish” my version of pigs in a blanket and mini pizzas.  This is my first attempt at this version of pigs in a blanket and mini pizzas.  I wanted something hot as an appetizer but that would also be a bit more substantial than plain Little Smokies.  I opened a can of refrigerator rolls and separated them.  I cut 4 of the rolls in half , pressed them out and wrapped the Little Smokies in them – Pigs in a Blanket.  The remaining 6 rolls I pressed flat with my fingers, topped them with a dab of tomato paste, a sprinkling of pizza seasoning, some pepperoni and some grated cheese. Here’s how they look ready for the oven.

Pigs in a Blanket and Mini Pizzas

Pigs in a Blanket and Mini Pizzas

When George gets home from work – around 6 pm, I’ll pop them into the oven,  Now it’s time for the game.  You’ll have to come back tomorrow to see how they turned out!

Posted in American Food, Appetizers, Baking, Cooking, Food, meat, Menus, Pork, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment