A picture perfect day ~ Ogunquit Beach, Me.

It's been a long, cold and snowy Winter here in Boston.  And with May approaching, Spring has been dragging it's feet.

But yesterday was a gorgeous day and I met up with a friend who has the same love of the ocean as I do.

So with the weather people predicting near 70 degrees, we decided to go to the beach.  She asked me if I wanted to go to Ogunquit and I realized that I have never been to this particular one.  It's funny because I thought I have been to almost every beach in Southern Maine.  But each and every beach has it's own character and this one is no exception, just gorgeous.  I fell in love and hope that if you get the chance to, you'll do the same.

If you haven't been to the Coast of Maine, as you can see it's very rocky.  I have no special photo equipment, so these pictures are not edited.  This blue, is the color we saw all around us yesterday.  Like I said, just picture perfect and all natural.

This shot is much like the first shot, but I can't figure which one I like the best.  So here is another, much like the first.  And I can't wait to go back.
Don't you agree?  Just gorgeous ~


A Quick and Easy Brunch ~

I made a great little brunch for a close friend and boy was it easy and delicious.  It gave us plenty of time to sit and chat, which is what we both wanted to do.  So I did this easy and quick menu.

Fresh Strawberry and Kiwi Salad

1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon of honey
1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Whisk vinegar, honey and olive oil.  Add shallot and whisk again.  Add salt and pepper, set aside.

1 qt. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 kiwi fruit, washed and sliced

Put strawberries and kiwi in a low sided bowl.  Right before serving, add dressing.  This presentation is beautiful and the salad itself is delicious.

I decided to make a frittata with ingredients I had in the house.
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1 roma tomato, seeded, diced and patted dry
4 green onions, white and light green parts, sliced
8 oz. of cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Whisk eggs, cream, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
In a 9 to 10 inch non-stick skillet, heat oil and then butter, on
medium heat.  Add mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add green onion, stir and cook for 2 minutes longer.
Turn on broiler.
Turn heat to medium low and add eggs.  Gently stir eggs around a bit, just for a minute.  Add diced tomatoes and sprinkle cheese.  Turn burner off and place skillet under the broiler.  Watch carefully until top of frittata is turning light golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Remove frittata from oven.  Let sit for another two minutes.
Use a spatula to loosen sides and slide frittata to plate.  Garnish with sliced green scallion.  Cut into wedges to serve.
Serve with bagels, coffee and champagne.
Delicious and easy, what a nice combination ~


Filipino Chicken Curry ~

 I wanted to try something different with chicken thighs this week.  So I searched my recipes and found this one tucked away, on my "to make" list.  It comes from someone who posted this a few years ago on PW's site, moonglow.  I love curry and coconut milk together.  And a splash of the fish sauce at the end, helps gives it a salty, sweet, tangy flavor.  I served it over basmati rice.  It was yummy.  And easy, which is such a plus on a busy week night.

Oh, aren't my place mat and napkins just darling?  They are a gift from a dear friend down South.  Thank you C.
Filipino Chicken Curry

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1inch cubes (I didn't add)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts halves, cut into cubes (I used bone in, skin on chicken thighs)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons curry powder
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 can coconut milk
1 cup peas (frozen are fine)
1 roasted red pepper, sliced thinly (I didn't add)
1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce

1.In a skillet with olive oil, brown potatoes and set aside.
2.Season chicken with fish sauce, and brown in the same skillet. Set aside.
3.Saute garlic until fragrant, followed by onions, curry powder and brown sugar.
4.Return chicken and potatoes to the skillet, add coconut milk, roasted pepper slices, peas, and chili sauce (you may omit or add more for heat).
5.Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is tender.
6.Serve with steamed rice

I'm joining Michael at Foodie Friday's Blog this week at Designs By Gollum.

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Lidia's Torti di Ricotta ~

I watched Lidia make this on her show Lidia's Italy,  recently and was suprised at how easy it is to make. I decided that I would add it to my family's Easter desserts.  And I am so happy I did.  It's a delicious cheesecake and everyone loved it. 

It tastes much lighter than the New York style cheesecakes that I have made in the past.  I made a strawberry reduction sauce to serve on the side. 

This cake is made with both ricotta and mascarpone cheese which makes it so creamy.

The most work one has to do when making this dessert is to drain the ricotta cheese in a sieve or a cheesecloth for a few hours before making it.  Other than that, it's a breeze to make.  And it takes literally minutes to put together and put in the oven.  I can't recommend this cheesecake enough and I'll make it from now on when I want to make an impressive dessert.

I omitted the raisins and pine nuts, but it was still fabulous.  I also didn't feel like I needed to go buy amaretti cookies, just to use 4 or 5 of them.  So, I crumbled digestive biscuits instead.  You can use any vanilla based cookie and it will be fine.

Lidia Bastianich's Torti di Ricotta ~

2 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup amaretto crumbs from about 4 or 5 amaretti
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons dark rum
5 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups drained fresh ricotta, at room temperature
1 cup mascarpone, at room temperature
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush an 8-inch spring form pan with butter on the bottom and sides. Coat bottom and sides with amaretto crumbs, tapping out excess. Put raisins in a small bowl and pour rum over, let soak while you make the filling.

In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs, sugar and salt at high speed until foamy and the sugar has dissolved and no longer feels grainy, about 2 minutes. Add ricotta, mascarpone and zests. Drain raisins, set aside and add leftover rum to the mixer, mix on medium until smooth and fluffy, about another 2 minutes. Fold in raisins and pine nuts by hand.

Put spring form pan on a baking sheet and pour batter into pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake until edges are set and light golden but the center is still a bit jiggly, about 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack completely before cutting and serving.

Strawberry sauce:

1 lb. bag of frozen whole strawberries
1 cup of sugar
1 orange zest and juice (zest first and squeeze second)
1 Tbsp. orange liquor

In a medium saucepan on the stove, bring all of the ingredients to a boil.  Turn it down to a simmer and let it reduce and thicken.  Add 1 tablespoon of orange liquor and turn off stove.  Let sauce cool down to serve on the side.

Enjoy ~


Pink Lemonade Cake ~

Last Spring, my Better Homes & Garden magazine featured a pink lemonade cake on it's cover and it called my name for Easter.  So, I tucked it away and put it on my list for this year's celebration.

The cake had four layers and was quite impressive looking. 

But, I wanted to make it easier, so I embellished a white boxed cake mix.  Talk about having your cake and eat it too!

I just followed the directions on the back of my box, and where it said the amount of water, I added 1/4 cup of pink lemonade and enough milk to substitute.

I kept the frosting almost the same as directed, but I eliminated the vanilla.

The picture on the magazine cover had thinly sliced lemons on top, but I wanted mine to be decorated more.  So, I put 2 drops of green food coloring in a plastic baggie and put in 1/2 cup shredded coconut.  I bought a small bag of jelly beans to decorate the cake as well.

It was a big hit, not only did it look pretty, it tasted wonderful.

Oh, and it was easy, another bonus.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter ~