Thursday, July 31, 2014

Foodie Friday -- August 1, 2014

 Welcome to Foodie Friday, where great food is always on the menu.

 Every morning in June, Bandwidth drove to McDonalds for breakfast. He came home with two sacks, each one filled with a billion lukewarm calories. I devoured the muffins without hesitation.
Everything changed when Ulysses Press sent a copy of Crazy for Breakfast Sandwiches, a fantastic new cookbook by Jessica Harlan, a popular food writer and recipe developer. 
Each recipe was a winner. 
 I bought an inexpensive sandwich maker and began making Ms. Harlan's simple, lip-smacking recipes, such as Egg and Cheese Muffins, Ham and Brie Croissant-wiches, Benedict-to-Go, and "the Elvis," which involves the King's holy trinity: bacon, peanut butter, and white bread. 
But the awesome recipe line-up doesn't stop at breakfast. The book includes ideas for lunch and dessert. 
A favorite at our house is Ms. Harlan's Ham and Cheese Melt. In the preface to the recipe, she writes:
"There's nothing like an old-fashioned ham and cheese sandwich, and my version takes a nod
from cuban medianoche pressed sandwiches. The name means "midnight" in Spanish, a nod to this sandwich's popularity as a late-night snack. Make one for a quick lunch; it can even be wrapped in foil to eat on the go."

Ham and Cheese Melt
Makes 1 sandwich

2 thick slices of crusty white bread, such as ciabatta
1 T. butter, softened
1 T. mustard
2 slices Swiss cheese
2 slices deli ham

Spread butter on one side of the bread, mustard on the other. You can find the technique for making this sandwich in the book. For Foodie Friday, I grilled the sandwich in a skillet. My husband followed me outside and waited while I took pictures. The moment I was finished, the melt disappeared.
 Kiss fast food goodbye and say hello to quick, warm, nutritious homemade sandwiches and desserts.
I loved this book for many reasons, mainly because it put an end to Bandwidth's early A.M. excursions to the Golden Arches. 

"Like most people, I rarely have time to make the elaborate morning meals of my dreams," author Jessica Harlan says. "My solution? For a quick, tasty morning meal, I make sandwiches."

Non-breakfasty recipes include Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches, Tuna Melt, and Pizza. 
For dessert, you can try Black Forest Pancake Torte, Raspberry-Nutella Stack, and Warm Strawberry Shortcake.

Jessica Harlan lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her family. Crazy for Breakfast Sandwiches is her fifth cookbook. 

Ulysses Press
Author's Facebook Page

Foodie Friday's thought for the week:

Did you miss the recipes at last week's Foodie Friday? Visit your favorite cooks HERE.

Are you contributing a recipe to this week's Foodie Friday?
 If so, locate the blue Inlinkz icon in the lower, left-hand portion of this post. Click on the icon and follow the directions. After you complete the process, you will see a red "x" beside your name. This allows you to delete your link if you made an error; the red "x" is visible to you only.

You can read a complete guide to this linky party HERE.

If you'd like to share your food photos--or photos of other FF participants on Pinterest, join the Pinterest foodie board, Consuming Passions. Leave a message on the most recent "pin" if you'd like your name added to the list.

***Participants' photos will be pinned to Foodie Friday's group Pinterest board.   

Every Friday, we are joined at this big, virtual table--thank you for stopping by today. I'm grateful to all of you who spend your days cooking. I'm grateful to old and new friends who contribute recipes every week. I'm grateful to friends who leave a comment. I'm grateful for the silent folks, because you are brought here by your love of all things culinary.

The Foodie Friday Link-Up

Have a food-filled weekend!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kitchen Details for the Home Chef

Late at night when I'm trying to sleep, I plan kitchen storage. 

My pantry (above and below) is narrow but wonderfully functional. White dishes and Ironstone are stored on bookshelves. Canned items and staples are hidden behind doors. A counter holds my KitchenAid and breadbox. On the opposite wall, a tiny sampling of cookbooks are stuffed into a small library stand. Vintage draperies make me smile.

Square islands are great for two cooks. This one has plenty of drawers and prep space. 

This kitchen belongs to a talented chef.

I'm entranced by this kitchen. It has two handsome pot racks and plenty of work space--plus a TV.
When you're alone in the kitchen, making a roux, the time flies by when you're listening to a cooking show or catching up on the news.

Speaking of pot racks, Martha Stewart has a fine one.
Other: Martha Stewart's kitchen on Houzz

A studio vibe sets the tone in this industrial style kitchen. It's unfitted and customized for someone who loves to cook.

Sleek and modern, this kitchen has plenty of elbow room--and a separate baking/prep area.

A calming contemporary L-shaped kitchen has storage galore.

Do you recognize this famous kitchen?
It's Barefoot Contessa's studio kitchen, equipped with twin Sub-Zeros, a pro range, a cooktop on the island, and generous counter space.
Other Barefoot Contessa's kitchen on Houzz

Here, the footprint dictated the layout, but the owner chose to use vertical space to
store essentials. The reclaimed wood counters are a showstopper.

Serious cooking goes on here, with Sub-zero refrigerator drawers, a KitchenAid, and knife set. 

Open shelves add charm and function to a coffee station. 

Instead of building a pull-out spice drawer, this homeowner opted for utensil storage--a great idea.
I don't know about you, but my spatulas are always buried in a drawer.

A pull-out knife rack is tucked away, leaving the counters open for prep work.

A deep, divided drawer is an ingenious use of space to store pans.

A wide utensil drawer: the stuff of dreams.

A cabinet holds spices, oils, canned goods, dishes, and staples. Below,
you'll find storage for serving pieces.
Traditional Kitchen by New Rochelle Closet & Home Storage Designers transFORM | The Art of Custom Storage

In this home bar, the dust-catching bottles are tucked away in pull-out drawers.

This walk-in pantry added lazy Susans in the corner. 
Tablecloths hang on a rack.

Wooden pegs keep dishes from sliding around in deep drawers.

If you don't have a walk-in pantry, you can find storage in lower cabinets:
Double doors hide a small gourmet store in this cook's kitchen.

A white galley pantry keeps a chef's tools handy.

Whoever planned this storage took time to measure platters, bowls, and small appliances.
The result is a well crafted kitchen.

A built-in cabinet hides spices, condiments, bottles, and jars.

Bandwidth's perfect kitchen would include heavy duty metal racks.
I like them, too. 

Today's kitchen gawking has put me in the mood to cook. 
See you tomorrow at the Foodie Friday Linky party.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Shady Lady

Traditional Landscape by Bolingbrook Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Hursthouse Landscape Architects and Contractors

"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment."
                                                                                      -- Jane Austen

I have a great fondness for shadowy gardens. Yep, I'm a shady lady for sure.

On the bald hilltop, it took eight years for the crepe myrtle to become a shade tree. As a novice gardener, it took me a while to catch on about what to plant where. In the fall, I'll be busy moving sun lovers to another area.

Until then, I've been reading about shade gardens.
Hydrangeas thrive in dappled light.
Traditional Landscape by Kansas City Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Richard Clayton Barrett

This home was designed by Linda Floyd. It's a fairy tale house, with ferns and ivy growing like crazy.
Traditional Landscape by San Jose Interior Designers & Decorators Linda L. Floyd, Inc., Interior Design

Another look at the shade garden. The foxgloves are in full bloom.
Traditional Landscape by San Jose Interior Designers & Decorators Linda L. Floyd, Inc., Interior Design

A path curves through a green-and-white shade garden. 
Doesn't it look calm and inviting?
Traditional Garage And Shed

Don't they look luscious against cedar shake?
Rustic Landscape by Andover Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Paul Maue Associates Landscape Architects

A border that delights the eye and imagination. The "before" and "after" is amazing. Not only did the hydrangeas add color, they gave a privacy layer.
This year, I bought several "endless summer" hydrangeas, 
and I have fretted over them like a new mom.
Ajuga is another good choice for shady areas. 
My mother says it's a bit invasive, but she adores the purple blooms.
Hostas are reliable in the shade. I love to plant them in front of huge hydrangeas so they'll form a green border. Below, they hug the edges of a path.
Traditional Landscape by Kennett Square Photographers

A fern border is ladylike. . . yet untamed (like Jane Austen's characters).
In this border, purple astilbe and pink-purple hydrangeas tower fetchingly over boxwoods.

Gardeners love the shade-tolerant foxglove, which is the mainstay of English cottage beds.
Mediterranean Landscape by Van Nuys General Contractors {environmental concept}

A shady path beckons, drawing you past white birch trees, where alliums float above lamb's ear and purple catmint. 
Contemporary Landscape by Winchester Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

There's something to be said about a monochromatic bed. It's so pleasing to the eye, with shades of green and a charming mix of shapes and textures.
For moist, partly-shaded beds, you can count on the primrose.
Landscape by Vancouver Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers CYAN Horticulture

Hand's down, I love hydrangeas the most.

My impatiens are in part-sun, and they struggled until the crepe myrtle leafed out. Now, they've grown into a poofy border.

 My garden buddy, Zap, waits patiently while I pull weeds.

 What are your favorite shade plants?