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Category Archives: recipe

The BEST Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Recipe!

buttermilk

Is there anything more yummy than homemade Buttermilk Ranch Salad Dressing?  Wait ’til you taste it made with Homestead Creamery Buttermilk!  This buttermilk is so rich that it won’t immediately pour out of the bottle. You can see in the photo above that it coats the spoon, like the texture of sour cream. I have to admit I never liked buttermilk before I tried the Homestead Creamery brand and now I am a fan! I am planning to make Southern Cornbread with this buttermilk too. YUM!

Homestead Creamery is our local dairy located in Wirtz, Virginia:

https://www.homesteadcreameryinc.com/

buttermilk dressing spinach

Bubblybee Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Makes 2 cups

2 cloves black garlic, minced (regular garlic can be substituted if black garlic is not available)

1 cup Homestead Creamery Buttermilk (if Homestead Creamery brand is not available in your area substitute 1/2 cup good quality buttermilk and 1/2 cup sour cream)

1/2 cup Duke’s mayonnaise (or your favorite brand of mayonnaise)

1/2 teaspoon medium peri-peri sauce

1/4 cup finely chopped chives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 shallot grated

In a mixing bowl combine black garlic and buttermilk. Allow to stand while prepping other ingredients.  Add mayonnaise, peri-peri sauce, chives, basil, dill, salt, pepper, lemon juice and shallot to the buttermilk and garlic mixture.  Stir to combine all ingredients.  Chill until service.

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing is especially delicious on a fresh spinach salad with crispy peppered bacon!

salad

I also drizzled some of the Buttermilk Ranch Dressing over our BLT’s (actually BST’s since I replaced lettuce with spinach on the sandwiches) for dinner this evening.

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Tempting Tailgating Recipes

My husband and I recently attended a Tailgating Extravaganza Cooking Class at the Shenandoah Club in Roanoke, Virginia.  Chef Roger Light shared with us his favorite tailgating recipes.  And this was no “mess o’ chicken wings”…this was fancy tailgating with surprisingly simple recipes! Thank you Chef Light!

sangria

We were greeted with our choice of Sangria:  Traditional Red Wine and Fresh Fruit Sangria or Falling Pear Punch.

Here’s Chef Light’s recipe for his fabulous Falling Pear Punch ~

Falling Pear Punch

20 ounces GREY GOOSE®  La Poire (Pear)

15 ounces Sparkling Wine

5 ounces Grand Marnier ®

5 ounces Pear Puree

5 ounces Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

7.5 ounces Lemon Juice

Combine all ingredients in a punch vessel and chill using a large block of ice. Stir gently. Serve in cocktail cups with pear slice garnish/ground cinnamon on top.

This would produce a punch that has a volume of 57.5 ounces.

sangria cup

I consider Sangria to be the 5th food group since it has so many ingredients that are good for us! So I was very happy to get Chef Light’s recipe:

Sangria

1 bottle Red Wine

1/3 bottle Orange Juice

1/3 bottle Vodka

1/3 bottle B&B Brandy

1 Green Apple, diced

1 Orange, zested

1 Cinnamon Stick, cracked

1 cup Simple Syrup

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Cover and chill for several hours in the refrigerator. Pour sangria into a pitcher and serve ice-cold in chilled cocktail cups.

shrimp

The first tailgating tidbit we were served was pickled shrimp. Perfect for stand-up snacking at the game. Followed by delicious deviled eggs, warm bar nuts, ham and gruyere baguettes with mustard butter and avocado and bleu cheese dip with apples.

tailgate eggs

 

Then came the GRILL! We feasted on grilled beef tenderloin and salmon. One of the most delightful treats of the evening was the Texas Barbecue Dry Rub Ribs ~ grilled over charcoal.

tailgate ribs

…here’s Chef Light’s recipe ~ serve with Harvest (Vinegar Based) Slaw

Texas Barbecue Dry Rub

2 tablespoons Chili Powder

2 tablespoons Brown Sugar

2 teaspoons Black Pepper, freshly ground

1 teaspoon Dry Mustard

1 teaspoon Cumin, ground

1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper, ground

tailgate sea salt carmel peanut browniesCoffee with hearts

And for dessert ~ moist chocolately caramel sea salt peanut brownies.

tailgate chilitailgate chili jar

Chef Light sent us home with “Chili-Cornbread Jars” to  enjoy at our leisure.  What a fabulous idea – spicy chili layered with homemade cornbread topped with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onion. Perfect for a hearty snack before the big game!

HAPPY TAILGATING!

wine not sign

Kittens

Kitten Update:  Ziggy Elman (grey kitten) and Artie Shaw (tabby kitten) are lovin’ life in their new forever home (day 3).  They are devouring their food, ignoring kitten toys because the other kitten’s tail and my fingers and toes are much better to chew on! Ziggy likes to put both feet in his water bowl (go figure)!

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Balsamic Vinegar Pearls Bruschetta ~ Flavor Bomb!

Balsamic Vinegar Pearls…Bursting with flavor!  

balsamic container

balsamic caviar

Looks like caviar!

Available on-line…black,  white, lemon (yellow), white truffle and pomegranate balsamic vinegar pearls…

balsamic brushetta

Tomato Burrata Bruschetta with Basil and Balsamic Vinegar Pearls

Burrata means “buttered” in Italian. I like to describe it as fresh cream and curd (like a fresh ricotta) wrapped in mozzarella cheese and it is fabulouso!

barrata cheese

These flavor bomb appetizers are so easy to prepare.  Spread burrata cheese on toasted French bread rounds (I purchased my toast rounds from Fresh Market).  Top the cheese with chopped fresh tomato and julienned fresh basil leaves. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.  Top with a few balsamic vinegar pearls.  Enjoy!

beets

Dinner this evening will include roasted fresh golden beets with baratta cheese sprinkled with  balsamic vinegar pearls.

bee

I found this little guy enjoying my pink Dragon’s Breath plant (Celosia) in the garden this morning.

dragon fruit

Speaking of dragons…we enjoyed slices of dragon fruit this morning for breakfast ~ tastes like pear and kiwi…yum!

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My Favorite Recipe For Baba Ganoush

My wonderful husband presented a champagne tasting as a surprise for me this week…Champagne Dautel-Cadot Grande Tradition Brut NV and Dautel-Cadot Champagne Cuvee Prestige Brut NV.

I love it when I walk in the kitchen and find this sitting on the island which means we are about to commence to tastin’…

My favorite was the Champagne Dautel-Cadot Grande Tradition Brut NV.  Consists of 100% pinot noir grapes. $25 range.  We tasted notes of lemon meringue and green apple.  Bright without being too acidic.  Fresh and crisp. After my first sip I exclaimed:  “I love this!”

champagne tasting 1

The Dautel-Cadot Champagne Cuvee Prestige Brut NV was also delightful. 50% chardonnay and 50% pinot noir grapes.  $28 range.  We tasted orange blossom and meyer lemon flavors in this champagne.  Lots of fun bubbles dancing in the flute!

champagne tasting 2

Eggplant is in season!  This is my husband’s favorite appetizer, much like a  Baba Ganoush with some fun taste twists that enhance the flavor of the eggplant:

Eggplant Paté

Note:  I puree the ingredients in my blender. A food processor may also be used.

1 cup pureed eggplant (cut eggplant in half and roast in oven, scoop out eggplant pulp with spoon and discard eggplant shell. For one cup pureed eggplant you will need 2 eggplants)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 red bell pepper, cored, roasted and peeled, pureed (place cored pepper under the oven broiler and blacken all sides of the pepper. Place pepper in a paper bag, close the bag and allow the pepper to cool.  Remove the pepper from the bag and scrape off the peel with a sharp knife.

1 tablespoon butter

2.25 ounces pine nuts

1 tablespoon fresh oregano

12 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons medium peri-peri sauce

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 ounces goat‘s milk cheese (little log)

Firehook Mediterranean Baked Crackers – sea salt variety (or serve with your favorite flatbread cracker)

  1. Melt butter in small sauté pan. Add pine nuts and sauté over medium-low heat, stirring constantly (monitor carefully because pine nuts will burn quickly) until pine nuts just begin to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Place the eggplant puree, red pepper puree, oregano, basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, peri-peri sauce, tomato paste in a blender or food processor . Blend until all ingredients are combined and the mixture has a relatively smooth consistency.  If the mixture is too thick to blend a little more olive oil can be added.
  3. Place half of the eggplant mixture in a small serving dish. Crumble the goat cheese over the eggplant mixture. Top the goat cheese with the other half of the eggplant mixture. Top the eggplant mixture with the pine nuts.
  4. Serve with crisp flatbread crackers.

tim tam packagetim tams

Love these irresistable chocolaty happiness in a biscuit Tim Tams!  Dark mint is my favorite. 

limenchello

sparkle

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A Toast To Summer…Fresh Green Pea With Radish And Lemon Zest Toast + CAVA

.

pea toasts and lemon

Fresh Green Pea With Radish And Lemon Zest Toast

toast

Bakery fresh baguette slices toasted.

pea toasts

Cook fresh green peas until almost mushy.  Add butter, sea salt and a dash of fresh cream.  Mash peas. Top baguette slices with mashed peas.  Top peas with mandoline thin slices of radish, lemon zest and freshly ground black pepper.

pea toast

Serve with a lovely Spanish Cava…

Cava F

Freixenet Brut Blanc de Blanc

This bubbly Cava is produced by the same winery that gives us Gloria Ferrer, one of my favorite sparkling wines:  https://www.gloriaferrer.com/carneros-winery

The perfect casual summer sipper…from Catalonia, Spain. 100% Chardonnay grapes.  A sparkling value…$10 range.  Lots of fun bubbles. Notes of baked apple with just a touch of lemon. Available on-line. I also found this Cava locally at Tinnell’s in Roanoke, Virginia. http://tinnells.com

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Chilled Jumbo Lump Crab And Corn Bisque Paired With Uriondo Txakoli Bizkaiko Txakolina

soup

Jumbo Lumb Crab and Corn Bisque

6 servings

Place shallow soup bowls and soup spoons in freezer to chill.

3 tablespoons butter

1 small shallot, chopped

2 tablespoons Italian parsley

1 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 ears of corn, cooked and kernels removed from the cob (save kernels from 1/2 ear of corn for garnish)

2 Russet potatoes, peeled, boiled until tender and chopped

1 cup vegetable stock

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

Jumb lump crabmeat and chopped chives for garnish

Fresh peas, cooked with a little butter, for garnish (if available)

Melt butter in a small saucepan.  Add shallot and saute over medium heat until the shallots are translucent.  Remove from heat and add the parsley, Old Bay Seasoning, pepper, corn and potatoes. Stir to combine all ingredients.

Place mixture in a food processor or blender. Add vegetable stock, cream and salt to the mixture.  Process/blend until the mixture is pureed.  Pour pureed soup through a fine sieve, pressing the soup through the sieve with a large spoon. Discard any bits that are left in the sieve.  Chill soup until ready for service.

To serve, place approximately 1/4 cup of soup into each chilled shallow soup bowl. Garnish each bowl of soup with 2 heaping tablespoons jumbo lump crab meat, 2 heaping tablespoons corn kernels, chopped fresh chives and fresh peas. Sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning.

soupwine

Uriondo Txakoli Bizkaiko Txakolina
Fresh green apple notes.  The flavors on the palate are refreshing and almost salty which makes this wine a perfect pairing for crab.
Txakoli Uriondo is a small family winery founded in 1987 located in the Basque Region of Spain.

$19 range.   This light and crisp wine was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and bottled with residual carbon to give it its signature natural spritz.  70% Hondarribi Zuri, 20% Mune Mahatsa, and 10% Txori Mahatsa grapes.

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Arugula Strawberry Spring Rolls With Honey Lime Dipping Sauce ~ Vegetarian Delight!

kobari

Its Spring signOn Saturday I popped by our local Grandin Village Farmer’s Market and picked up some Kohlrabi.  One of the farmers offered the purple variety of this vegetable that looks like a turnip with a nice crunch and a little bit of a peppery flavor.  Kohlrabi is German for “cabbage turnip” and it’s a member of the cabbage family.  To make a yummy Kohlrabi Slaw, peel Kohlrabi then cut it in matchstick pieces, toss with julienne strips of peeled apple and carrot and a bit of coleslaw dressing, then sprinkle with crispy crumbled bacon or sunflower seeds (or both!)  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

What do you call a sad strawberry? ….A blueberry!

Why was the little strawberry sad? … His mom was in a jam!

Christina with salad

Culinary Teacher Extraordinaire Christina Nifong

Displays Her Greens and Berries Salad

Spring rolls on plate

Christina Nifong is a food writer well known in our region for the stories she’s written about the Virginia food scene and the recipes she creates and shares during the culinary classes she teaches. The class I attended on Saturday at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op was Local For Lunch: Berry Bonanza. I always walk away from Christina’s class with a new favorite. This time my new FAV is Arugula Strawberry Spring Rolls.  So easy to make and as Christina explains , “These are basically a fresh and delicious handheld salad.”   Here’s her recipe:

Makes 10 – 12 spring rolls

Ingredients

Brown Rice Wrappers (available on-line or at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op)

4 cups lettuce, spinach or other green, torn or chopped into bites-sized pieces

4 cups arugula, washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces

4 ounces plain chevre (Curtin Dairy is a good choice), softened

2 pints ripe strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

Mint leaves for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat large bowl of water. Dip one brown rice wrapper into hot water. Hold it there for 30 seconds.
  2. Set damp wrapper onto cold, dry, flat surface. (Make sure the surface is non-porous, granite is a good choice; do not use wood because it is porous.) Add row of lettuce in the center of the wrapper.
  3. Top with arugula, then a slight smear  of goat cheese. Then stack a row of strawberries.
  4. Fold top of wrapper down. Then fold bottom of wrapper up (about an inch). Then roll from the left, tucking and rolling until spring roll is closed.

spring rolls roll upspring rolls

  1. Set onto serving dish. Repeat until all ingredients are gone.  Make sure not to let spring rolls touch on serving plate as they will tear.
  2. Refrigerate until time to eat. Garnish with mint. Serve with honey-lime dipping sauce.

Honey Lime Dipping Sauce ~ Juice of one lime, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 garlic clove minced, salt and black pepper to taste, dash of red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon finely chopped mint. Place all ingredients into a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Here’s another spring roll recipe with a yummy peanut dipping sauce on Christina’s website…christinanifong.com

http://christinanifong.com/2017/05/vegetarian-spring-rolls/

The  brown rice wrappers are more sturdy (gives the spring roll a nice bite) than the white rice wrappers and they have a lovely nutty flavor.

Rosalee

My bubbly friend made some awesome spring rolls!

VA sign

spring rolls granitaLooking for the perfect palate cleanser between courses or a light dessert to serve al fresco? Raspberry Lime Granita!

Christinas raspberries

Christina made the granita with fresh raspberries from her garden!

Makes 12-15 servings

Ingredients

3/4 cup organic granulated sugar

1 3/4 cup water

Juice and zest of 2 limes

2 Tablespoons chopped, fresh mint leaves

2 pints (4 cups) fresh, ripe raspberries, pureed (force raspberry puree through a fine sieve to remove seeds, discard seeds).

Instructions

  1. Bring sugar, water, lime zest and juice and mint to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat. Let the mixture boil for 1 minute.
  3. Let the syrup cool. Strain out mint leaves (optional). Mix together syrup and berry puree.
  4. Pour into 9 x 13 freezer-safe baking dish. Freeze overnight or up to 24 hours.
  5. To serve, remove from freezer and let thaw for 10-20 minutes. Scrape with cold ice cream scoop into serving dishes.

Thank you Christina! Looking forward to your next class!

Christinas blueberry salad

GREENS AND BERRIES SALAD

carrotsturnips

 

lettuce

Iceberg Lettuce Fresh From The Garden

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