Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gorgonzola Pancakes with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

I sometimes put chocolate chips in my pancakes or blueberries, or nuts and bananas.... but I never cooked pancakes that are not sweet.  But I was feeling experimental.  So I deicide to make something different with the ingredients that I'm comfortable with.   I love gorgonzola.  It's my favorite cheese!  Gorgonzola and red wine makes me as happy as sashimi and Sake.  I know I don't need to pick but I sometimes like torture myself by asking which would I take if I can only have one for rest of my life....  It's difficult decision. 
Anyway, that afternoon, even though I spent all the afternoon making Father's day cake for my father in law the day before, I was ready to work again!

*Gorgonzola Pancakes*
1/2 cup Flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg yellow
Salt to taste
1/3 cup Milk 
1/4 ~1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese
2 egg white
3 tablespoon butter

< 1 > Mix flour, baking powder, egg yellow, salt together.
< 2 > Dissolve the cheese  with milk and mix into the batter.
< 3 > Whisk egg whites until it forms a peak and mix it into the batter carefully.
< 4 > Melt the butter in a heated pan.  Swirl the pan to coat the bottom and pour excessive butter into the batter and mix.
< 5 > Cook pancakes as you would cook normal pancakes.

I roasted halved cherry tomatoes with olive oil and dried oregano to accompany the pancakes.  It was very nice to have sweetness and tartness of the tomatoes to balance out the bitterness and richness of the cheese.  The pancake is very fluffy with the whipped egg whites.   I think fig preserves will accompany this pancake very nicely, too.

I guess I was in the cooking mood this weekend.  I do bake every Sunday to bring to my father in law's house as desserts.  But I wanted to make something special for Father's day, so I opened the book of Pierre Herme even though it is a huge challenge for me.

It took hours to make, but it was tasty.  And my father in law loved it.  So I was very happy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Visiting St. Petersburg

When we visit my mother in law in North Florida, we sometimes drive to Orlando for theme parks.  But this time, we went to St. Petersburg.  I've wanted to visit St. Petersburg for long time to go to Dali Museum.  I found out that Busch Garden is in Tampa which is on the way to St. Petersburg so my daughter might be able to have a fun there also.
It turned out that the rides there were too much for both of us.... and after going to very relaxing and not crowded Jacksonville zoo, it was difficult to enjoy the zoo part at the park.  But I definitely enjoyed Dali Museum!!

I was so lucky to visit the newly opened museum.  The building itself was amazing.  Dali's art was a little too much for my daughter but she enjoyed the little garden outside and his film. 

We also went on a cruise to see dolphins in Tampa Bay.  It was so much fun!  They followed the boat that we were on and jumped right next to us.  Of course we tried to take pictures of them, but it was very difficult.

One night, we went to eat oysters on shells.  We love oysters.  We had a favorite oyster bar back in Connecticut, but in East Tennessee, it is not easy to find a place to eat them.  After having great dinner, we suddenly decided to go to the beach.  It was too early for the sunset but the beach was surrounded by the beautiful colors.

We looked for pretty shells in the air that was tinted with pink and blue.  It was such a nice moment.  We usually don't do things spontaneously.  So coming to the beach after dinner was fun. We decided to spend next afternoon at the beach.

Before going to the beach in the next afternoon, we went to a tropical garden named Sunken Garden.  It was full of the plants and flowers that we weren't used to seeing.  I enjoyed it much more than Bronx Botanical Garden.  

We spent all the afternoon at the beach.  Reading Fran├žoise Sagan.  Taking a nap.  Building sand statues.  Playing with baby horseshoe Crabs.  Finding more shells.
This time, I couldn't miss the sunset.  So I planned to go back to the beach right on time for it.  When you think about it, you can't see Sun setting on the ocean in East coast unless you are in Florida on the side of Gulf of Mexico.  So it's special.

It was beautiful.  That's all I can say.  I loved the little trip we took.  

Friday, June 3, 2011

From Florida

It's still beginning of June but the summer vacation has started in East Tennessee.  So has the remodeling for bedrooms and bathrooms.  So I am away from home to my mother in law's house.  We drove for 8 hours to get to North Florida.  It used to take us 16 hours from Connecticut, so 8 hours is nothing comparing to that!
What a nice place to be.  She lives in a beautiful house decorated really comfortably.  I always loved visiting her here, but coming to North Florida was not as exciting to us when we lived in North East, but now that we live in Appalachian, it became really exciting.

The size of the sky is significantly larger.  I've developed love for the beautiful mountains surrounding us in TN, but the large sky makes me feel free.  

Coming from the city 1 hour away from NYC, I didn't need to shop at all when I came here before except for outlet malls near by.  But now that I don't have Anthropologie, William Sonoma, Apple Store, Sephora and Wholefoods in driving distance, there are a lot to look forward to.  

Moreover, we had beaches in CT and Jones beach in Long Island was an hour and half away from where we lived.  But of course there is no beach we can go as a day trip in the mountains.  So being able to pack light to just play for a few hours at the beach has become luxury.   We did that yesterday and the ocean was so warm. 

The biggest thing we miss about North East is the diversity of food.  Although the lots of different kinds of food have become available comparing to even 5 years ago in East Tennessee, it's not like NYC that has so many people from different cultures bringing their authentic cooking and ingredients.  Not many place in US can compete with NYC on that, I'm sure.  But Jacksonville has a lot more to offer comparing to East TN.  So we are taking advantage on that.  We found a nice Korean restaurant run by Korean people.  I just love Kimchee!!  I feel right at home when I eat really good Japanese.  (I must say that doesn't happen often in the States....  once a while in NYC)  Korean food makes me feel very similar to that.  I don't know why. I didn't grow up eating Korean food.  It is also spicy and the Japanese food is not.  But there is some similarities in use of vegetables, fermented products, how the rice is eaten with meat or fish, and broth that they use for soup, etc....  So I felt so happy, almost home sick eating tofu and seafood soup, kimchee and white rice.

We always enjoy eating great fruits when we visited FL.  I had berry salad for breakfast for last 3 days with greek yogurt.  It's so simple and nice.  I put 2 cups of different berries and 1 table spoon of tupelo honey and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  

I love eating fruits for breakfast.  The colors of red berries opens my eyes.  The tartness of them stimulates my mind.  The sweetness of them makes me happy.  I'm ready for the day.

Last night we had a dinner here.  I made a crab salad with mango and avocado, and my sister-in-law (J's brother's wife) brought a home made herb quiche.  My mother-in-law was very happy to have 2 daughters in law cooking for her.  I guess next thing she should look forward to is her grand daughter preparing a nice meal for her.  I need to get busy teaching my daughter how to cook.
There were a lot of berries so I made a rolled cake for desert.

I don't have a standing mixer at home.  I don't even have a hand held mixer either.  So when I bake roll cakes, I usually use a whisk.  I don't mind spending 20 minutes trying to make the egg white stiff....  But it was so much easier to use my mother-in-law's standing mixer!!  I hate to give in to modern technology too much, but this is tempting.  

It's so beautiful to be here.  So relaxing.  Drinking tea in the air-conditioned room with plenty of sun with the cooking book that I wanted to read.  Chasing my mother-in-law's cat.  Going out with a hand weaved basket.  Watching my daughter swimming like a mermaid.  It's so peaceful.

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