Bitter Winter Cold — Summer Thoughts

A VERY COLD New Year:

So we’re a few days into a VERY COLD 2014.  They’re calling it a Polar Vortex — Minnesota temperatures at 22 (or more) BELOW Zero.  So while I’m waiting for a warm-up, I thought I would share a few tasty memories from last Summer.

A Late-Summer Pizza with Smoked Salmon, Apple and Shiitake:

We enjoyed a short vacation last summer at the Minnesota North Shore.  We picked up the yummiest, brown-sugar-glazed Smoked Salmon.  When we returned home, we made several small Pizzas — Amazing, flavorful.  With Smoked Salmon, sauteed apple, shiitake mushroom and summer corn — So easy with Naan for the crust.  First I smeared a very thin layer of Chevre, then added the ingredients, then sprinkled grated Fontina cheese.  The flavors worked so well together; so balanced!  Every bite — Fantastic, delicious!!

8-PizzaSalmon-100

Smoked Salmon Pizza — Presentation on a favorite Wood Fired Platter made by North Shore artist, Dick Cooter.

A Summer Pasta with Porcini, Asparagus and Prosciutto:

I posted this back in July– It was a great Summer Pasta!!  So many bright flavors and textures!  I tossed the cooked pasta (Garganelli) with plenty of basil pesto — Added sauteed mushrooms (both Crimini and Porcini), already-steamed asparagus, sliced/chopped Prosciutto, and some bits of oven-roasted tomato.  I threw in some pine nuts, a bit of grated cheese (Trugole) and called it a Summer Pasta!

Really enjoyed the wonderful flavor contrasts — The earthy Porcini, with the perfect-salty Prosciutto, with the tangy roasted tomato.  Lovely, refreshing Summer Pasta!!

David Peters Pottery with Pasta

Summer Pasta — Served in a favorite David Peters Bowl!!  Local groggy clays, wood fired — I LOVE the rusticity, the very minimalist, utilitarian ‘gold pan’ form, the subtle wood fire markings.  Perfect for enjoying this Pasta!

A Chocolate/Banana Dessert with Spiced Dulce de Leche Creme:

I made this Dessert several times last Summer; I never found the right chance to share it in a posting.  Looks like this bitter cold-snap is a good time….

I prepared a ‘Dulce de Leche‘ by simmering and reducing sweetened, condensed milk (with added spices, cinnamon, cardamom).  Once cooled, I mixed a portion into whipped cream.  Then, layered with brownies and bananas.  Heaven!  Easy but elegant.  The Dulce de Leche Creme is wonderful as a filling with cakes or a Cake Roll!!

Recipe included on my Recipes Page.

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Chocolate/Banana Stacks — Served on favorite Square Plate made by Minnesota (now Nebraska) Artist, Margaret Bohls.  Porcelain, hand-built, white-matte glaze.

And that’s how I’m surviving our Minnesota bitter Cold-Snap!  Happy 2014, and hope everyone is staying warm!!!

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