"Blueberry Peach Galette" a la mode
with a
"Blueberry Sherry Sauce"
and a trip to the
Temecula Berry Company


Last year here on DMC I wrote a review of the most beautiful blueberry fields I came across tucked away in the quiet estates and rolling plains of the Temecula Valley. I could have easily missed out on Temecula Berry Companies pristinely kept and magnificently grown farm and the only blueberry field in the county that I know about if I hadn't been taking a leisurely drive while waiting to pick up my kids from a birthday party in the area.

Unfortunately when I wrote the article last year it was at the end of the growing season and my local readers weren't able to experience the fun and excitement of hand picking their own blueberries. Well to my delight last week on Thursday the farm opened for business and my husband, little children and I headed over on the Memorial Day weekend and filled our buckets with beautiful, plump and ready to be picked berries.

The farm was just as I had remembered. The weather was a bit more accommodating for us being that it is still Spring time and the temperature was still a cool 79. The grounds are so beautiful, so clean, so well kept. I really am yearning to have a garden of blueberries, grape vines, avocado's and citrus. Living in such a community as Temecula, we have access to such a variety of produce fields, like the grape vineyards, orange groves, blueberry fields, olive tree's, and even dairy farms producing cheese like the Winchester Cheese Company's famous sharp gouda which won the bronze medal at the prestigous World Cheese Awards in London, England in 2006. And locally.. farms who's produce give the famed Temecula Farmers Market their fill of beautiful fruits, leafy greens and vegetables.

You have to look closely, lifting branches to reveal the bluberries on the undergrowth of the bushes. Our youngest daughter picked the most. It could be that she was the lowest to the ground and her eye caught all the ripe berries that were on the lower branches.

The colors are spectacular in the fields.

At the beginning of our hunt.

Ripe, plump and large berries for the picking!

I think naturally peaches pair perfectly with Blueberries. When I visit Sprouts Markets I always purchase a peach berry smoothie. Oh so delicious!

I love a Galette. They are simple to prepare and I love the freestyle form that they lend. And delicious.. you bet!

For the crust I used Dorrie Greenspans Pastry Dough recipe.

Crust Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons chilled nonhydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water

Crust Preparation
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening; pulse until coarse meal forms. Add 2 tablespoons ice water; pulse until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Chill 2 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.

For the filling I used peaches and berries. Using a typical apple pie filling recipe just subbing the fruit. I kept the skin on my peaches, I like the extra texture and the skins were pretty thin.

Fruit Filling:
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3 cups thinly sliced peaches (about 3 large)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 egg white
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
1 tablespoon Turbinado sugar

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
To make the fruit filling, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss gently, making sure that the cornstarch is coating the fruit. (This will prevent too much juice from leaking out while the Galette bakes.)

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Starting at the center of the dough, roll out, forming a 14-15-inch wide circle. Place the dough with parchment paper on a baking sheet. Add the fruit mixture to the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the border over the filling, overlapping where necessary and pressing gently to adhere the folds.

Lightly whisk the egg white and milk in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg wash, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 1 hour, or until crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. (Cutting it too quickly will cause the dough to crack). It's best served at room temperature or slightly warm.

Blueberry Sherry Topping
2 Cups fresh cleaned and dried blueberries
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup cream sherry

Directions
Add berries, sugar and sherry to a sauce pot. Cook on medium low. Watch pot so the berries do not scorch. When berries begin to break down and thicken lower heat to a low simmer. To prevent sugar from scorching the sides of the pan, have a cup of cold water and a pastry brush ready. Periodically brush the sides of the pan with water. This is a tip when making sugar syrups as well as caramels and candies.

Enjoy with a scoop of ice cream and a dollop of fresh whipped cream!
Buon Appetitio!
Laurie

Mildly Hot, Sweet & Spicy
"Mango, Plum, Mint & Jalapeno Salsa"
plus a "Roasted Baja Style Salsa"

Perfect weather, perfect fruit and perfect veggies went into this weekend of grillin and chillin with some Mango Mint Plum and a Roasted Baja Style Salsa to compliment some chili lime chips for dipping.

For the Mango, Plum, Mint, Jalapeno salsa I began by pulsing onions, garlic, mint and parsley in the food processor till minced.

I added two mango's cubed and four plums cut into small pieces. With two of the plums I left the skin to add color and texture. Add the fruit to the onion, mint and parsley mix.

Take a quarter of a jalapeno with the seeds removed and finely dice. Add to the salsa mix. Spritz with the juice of one lime.

Refrigerate till ready to serve with chips and avocado dip.
*My note; this salsa tasted so much better served on top of guacamole. I didn't make it the first night, but the next day I made guacamole and served it with the Mango Plum salsa and it took it up two notches in the flavor category!

ROASTED BAJA STYLE SALSA

I have been trying to hunt down this recipe for quite a long time now. There is a chain restaurant we enjoy going to called Baja Fresh Mexican Grill. I love their tacos simply prepared with grilled chicken, or beef, topped with cilantro, avocado, lime and salsa. But not just any salsa, my favorite salsa is their dark brown Baja Fresh salsa that I had never understood how they got that rich brown color. I asked around and finally received an answer from Heather over at Girlichef. Heather told me most likely the color was achieved by roasting till black all the tomatoes, onions, jalapeno and garlic. So I took her advise and blackened on my grill all the vegetables, popped them into the blender and pulverized them into a wonderful salsa. I also added cilantro, lime and salt to taste.

While my husband and kids loved the salsa, I came away learning a few things. Seed the jalapeno first.. it was eye popping hot for me, although my daughter and husband liked it just fine. Also, I went overboard with the garlic, I always do that! :) I used almost the whole head of garlic when really only a few cloves will suffice. I don't have exact measurements down yet. I will have to make it again before I post quantities. But as far as an ingredient list goes. Tomatoes, onion, Jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, lime and salt.

Thank you Heather!! Ciao and hugs. :)

Dry Spice Rubbed Steak Kabobs
& Hummus with
Whole Wheat Pita Bread


There is a restaurant in town that we frequent called Daphne's Greek Cafe. It's the only place we have found locally where we can get fresh carved Gyros, Falafel's, Hummus, Pita, Souvlaki and Tzatziki Sauce.

My husband and I came to enjoy Greek and Mediterranean food around 22 years ago while Honeymooning in Monterey, California. We stayed at this beautiful B & B called the Gosby House Inn in the enchanted village of Pacific Grove. I remember it was a very foggy evening and we didn't feel like driving far so we walked across the street and found this little restaurant called Petra. It was charming as well as inviting with the aroma's and ambiance welcoming us in from the cold. You know how there are moments in your life that leave an etching on your mind.. well that evening as well as the week in Santa Barbara, was one of those moments I'll remember forever. If you have never traveled up the Pacific Coast through Santa Barbara, Cambria, Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel and San Francisco, put these on your list as places to visit. Gorgeous coastlines as well as the famed Cypress trees bejewel the shores and play out like an old Hollywood or Disney film. Yes.. I am a romantic and will look for every opportunity to daydream when possible!

I think it was Jenn from The Left Over Queen who got me thinking that it would be much easier to just make home made hummus so we could have it frequently as well as it being easy and yummy with grilled steak and chicken kabobs. My husband loves Pita bread so I try to have it on hand regularly. We love the whole wheat pockets as well as the white flour version. In my opinion they don't taste all that different from each other when dry heated on the griddle. A little healthier for your digestive system is whole grain flours, if you can tolerate gluten in your diet. Which, I can eat either white or wheat but we want to introduce our kids to whole grains while they are still young enough to not toss it off as healthy and nutritious. :)

A few months back, when I received a few bottles of Country Bob's Sauces to try, I realized how much I enjoyed steak and barbecue sauces. After I ran out of the sauce I decided to try my hand at my own ingredient concoctions to replicate a barbecue style rub. I think I succeeded but the problem is that I never wrote down the ingredients. I made enough to last me a good six months and I haven't as yet tried to remake it. I remember though that I used brown sugar, dried molasses, a variety of dried and ground peppers, salts, garlic powder, dried lemon peel, cumin, celery salt.. and that is where I completely blank as to the rest of the ingredients. I will do another dry rub run and when I get the ingredients down I'll add them to this post. In the mean time, I am sure there are some great recipes out there.. I would encourage you to make your own and keep it on hand. Besides myself, I catch my son using my dry spices when he fry's chicken. Home made.. you gotta love it!

A wonderful family style meal of dry spice rubbed steak kabobs, fresh homemade hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and Kalamata olives on top, and whole wheat pita pockets. We also had a salad with tomatoes, black olives, feta cheese and thin slices of cucumber. Yes.. similar to a Greek salad excluding the thin slices of red onion and oregano infused salad dressing. Very yummy! :)

I don't really have a recipe I follow for the hummus. I keep Tahini paste on hand, as well as canned garbanzo beans, a staple in the Italian cupboard, Olive oil, lemon, fresh garlic, salt and paprika as well as Kalamata olives for an embellishment.

Here is a pretty typical Hummus recipe.

For the meat use your favorite, cubed and rubbed with your favorite spices. Maybe you'll try your hand at creating your own dry rub. Let me know if you do!

Ciao and Buon Appetito!
Laurie

Country Chicken Patties


You know something’s wrong with a mom of four children when I berate myself for making “simple” dinners. At least that’s what I call this. Chopped chicken, eggs, breadcrumbs, herbs and aromatics.. That’s simple to me! But to my kids and company they thought it was kinda snobbish of me when I made excuses for serving them something so quick and easily prepared. Now, if I had substituted the chicken with crab, there would have been no excuses spilling from my lips! ☺

I have to admit though.. I love eating these. They’re better then chicken strips and nuggets, they are much more tender and less dry because of the ingredient mix, and you can make lots and keep them for after school or midnight snacking. You can dip them in a variety of sauces and add peas and corn if your kids don’t object. And better yet, they’re simple enough to have the kids prepare themselves. So moms, with Mother’s Day this weekend, take a break from the kitchen, leave the recipe on the counter and the ingredients in the fridge and enjoy the weekend with your meticulously polished and pedicured feet kicked up on the chaise lounge!

Basic Ingredients
4 large boneless chicken breasts
2 eggs
1/2 c. or more if needed of mayonnaise
2 dashes of hot sauce like Tapatia
1 tsp. crushed garlic
½ onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. fresh or dry chopped parsley
2 tsp. fresh or dry thyme
2 scallions thinly sliced
1½ cups breadcrumbs or Panko crumbs
Salt & pepper to taste

*Optional Ingredients
Sometimes I add peas or corn as well as cheese like cheddar or Parmesan depending on the kind of dipping sauce I’m making.



Directions
Boil chicken. When cool enough to handle shred or finely chop. Add the rest of ingredients and mix until well blended. If you need to, adjust bread crumbs or mayonnaise. Form into patties. Fry in oil and 1 tsp. butter on both sides until golden brown.
Dipping Idea’s
Honey Mustard Sauce
Barbecue Sauce
Hummus
Ranch Dressing
Garlic Aioli

Wild Mushroom Agnolotti
with Chive, Tarragon & Blue Cheese Butter Cream Sauce


I have been feeling so lazy lately.. to the point where I have handed over the kitchen keys to my kids. :) They have humored me and have allowed me to take a week off from cooking to lounge and enjoy the spring air. Thanks my darlings.. but mom is back.. cleaning up the kitchen and putting things back in order the best I can and getting some tasty recipes out to try! Unfortunately my laziness had spread to my fingertips and I didn't even feel like posting to my blog, so I have a collection of dishes and treats that I'm hoping to get up on my site this week. 

This dish is a tribute to a pasta company who puts out the tastiest fresh pasta's ever! I have been purchasing Buitoni Tortellini's for years now and was so exited to receive, through Foodbuzz's Taste Makers program, a package of their just released Wild Mushroom Agnolotti's made with a blend of earthy portobello's and delicate crimini mushrooms melded together with roasted garlic and Grana Padana cheese as well as fresh Parmesan. The earthy aroma's were so wonderful and delicate and lent well to the leftover Chive, Tarragon and Blue Cheese Butter I had made for a Filet Mignon weekend enjoyed by my DH and I. I had a cup left over of the butter so I blended it with whole cream and added some red pepper flakes and a simple yet elegant sauce was prepared for the wonderful Agnolotti's. 


Chive, Tarragon and Blue Cheese Butter

Ingredients
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh blue cheese crumbled
3 chives cleaned and roughly chopped
1/2 cup packed fresh Tarragon cleaned and roughly chopped

Preparations
Clean and dry your herbs completely. Rough chop and set aside.
In a food processor blend butter and blue cheese till combined.
Add chives and tarragon. Pulse till well blended. Refrigerate till ready to use.
*I use herb butters ALL the time! I'll either use them topped on a steak right off the grill or spread them on warm crusty french bread. Experiment with herb and cheese additions. I think you'll love whatever you come up with! :)



Chive, Tarragon & Blue Cheese Butter
Cream Sauce


Ingredients
1 Cup Chive, Tarragon and Blue Cheese Butter
1/2 Cups whole cream
1/4 cup dry white wine
Red Pepper Flakes

Directions
Warm up a skillet and add the butter and cream. Blend till well incorporated. Add white wine and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Let simmer on low for 2 minutes so pepper has time to meld with sauce. The blue cheese has enough flavor so you probably won't need to add salt.

Cook Wild Mushroom Agnolotti according to package directions. Drain well. Pour some of the sauce into bowls. Add Drained Pasta and drizzle sauce on top. Decorate with a few chive and tarragon sprigs. Serve with crusty Italian or French bread and grated Parmesan or Grana Padana cheese.


A few weekends ago my husband and I attended an event at South Coast Winery called "Blessing Of The Vines". Wandering through their beautifully manicured gardens I captured this shot under the pergola. This isn't the only photo I was able to shoot.. but it's just a tease! :) My husband and I have had dinner at this restaurant, the Vineyard Rose many times before, the food is spectacular and their wines have won numerous and prestigious awards. It was a real treat to attend an event where a local Pastor said a blessing in the vineyard to commemorate the work and harvesting of the vines giving honor to the vine dresser that He would increase their yield.


Ciao and Buon Appetito!
Laurie