The Moveable Feast Food Blog

The Moveable Feast is a Personal Chef Service that serves the Hampton Roads area of Southern Virginia. This blog is an extension of my web site and will go into more details about food and any food service industries. Any pictures and or recipes that are published here are all the property of The Moveable Feast unless otherwise noted.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Beauty Unfolds.
Yesterday I was looking out the porch window when I heard a skuffle by the corner of the house. I could see the Sadie poking her nose at something as if to provoke it. Then Moose came over to give his expert opinion and then Charlie followed suit. I started to think about the baby racoon that we had to bury because of the same pow-wow. I dashed out on to the deck with a broom and looked at what all the fuss was about. I scattered the dogs by yelling at them to leave it alone. They lost interest because mom was having a melt down with a big blue broom in her hands.

Here is what all the fuss was about. Remember my parsley eating friends? Well they grew up without my supervision or me even knowing where they were. Last time I didn't get to see this part, and thanks to three noisy dogs I got to see what grew up after it ate all my parsley.

So here is to what eats my parsley almost every year and it's beauty unfolded...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What's for Breakfast?

I am a HUGE fan of breakfast. I rarely eat it during the week but on the weekends when I have time I like to try new things. I love

On Satuday mornings, I get up with the dogs at 3-yes that's AM and then curl up in my favorite chair and fall asleep watching some LMN movie with at least two of the four dogs in my lap. I wake up starved and the creative juices start to flow. Should I have the standard breakfast? How about an omlet? Blueberry pancakes? French Toast? Mock McMuffin? Bagel and Morning Star sausage? Too many choices!
Lucky for me we had spaghetti for dinner the other night and hub came home with a nice loaf of French bread. I used it for garlic toast and had more than half the loaf left over. I have no idea where this came from, but I had a dream about Banana Stuffed French Toast. I think I have seem it on some Martha Stewart show many years ago, but never wrote it down and never have looked up that kind of recipe either. So this morning it sounded like it would hit the spot.

I had some sad looking bananas sitting on the kitchen counter and I was good to go. I took some of the left over French bread and cut 4 huge slices of it. I cut a pocket in each one the way you would if you were stuffing a pork chop or a chicken breast. One banana was good for two of the bread slices. So I stuffed about half a banana in each bread pocket. I cracked two eggs (the only two I had left in the house) and put about 1/2 cup of milk in the bowl

I thought I remembered something about vanilla being added in the Martha version so I put about 1 tsp in with the milk and egg. I plunked the bread into the liquid and let it sit while I got the skillet out. Then I flopped it over to the other side. It was a like a huge sponge. I started to get nervous because there wasn't very much liquid for the second set of pockets. I used about 2 TBS of butter in a non-stick skillet and set the two wet pockets in the pan. I had to add more milk to the bowl so that the second set could soak up what was left.

I managed to get all four pockets in the pan together. I let them get golden brown and then flipped them over. In hind site, I could have put some cinnamon on the bananas and that would have added some more flavor. Anyway, I got them all cooked and ....

And breakfast from a dream is created!! IN case you don't have dreams like mine. Here is version of Stuffed Banana French Toast that sounds really good!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What do you buy in Little Italy?

My friend Julie and I had some time before I had to start my 6 hour drive home from my Personal Chef conference, so we decided to visit Little Italy in Philly. When they say little, they mean little. During the 80s, I went to Little Italy with an Italian friend of mine and I sure remember it being much bigger. Seems like a lot of the shops don't get as much business as they used to and many have either gone out of business or they are only open on the weekends. Lucky for us Claudio Specialty Food was open and I had a ball.

Julie got some this...which I thought was the most colorful pasta I have ever seen. It almost looks like that old fashioned ribbon candy you used to see at Christmas. Very pretty stuff but it had to travel back to NC on a plane in Julie's lap. I was afraid for the pasta!

I don't know if it was the fact that I was starving when we went or I was like Alice in Wonderland when I went into the store, but I could not help myself! I was so excited that I was driving home and I had remembered to bring an ice chest. So I let the implusive shopping begin! With things like this pretty pasta and these, who in their right culinary driven mind could not resist? Is this like the neatest display of olives? They had a nicest cold buffet of olives you have ever seen. I wanted one of everything!
Here is what I ended up buying.
I have never made Polenta before and I figured that this would be a good place to start.

Next since I was craving carbs, I had to buy Arborio Rice to make Risotto. I love the creaminess of risotto and have many different recipes I can use this for. So it was a must.
Then I headed for one of the most important ingredient in Italian cooking, the olive oil. I was told that this was good stuff. So why buy a little when you can buy a gallon? I am hoping that it will not go rancid before I get a chance to use all of it.

I bought this while still in a carb euphoria state. They look like this out of the bag. I hate to say this but they look like little worms. We'll see how they look after boiling. Then I bought these since I don't see them where I live either. I have not cooked any of this as of yet, but I will!
Here is what they look like on the plate.
Then I bought three different types of salami, both domestic and imported from Italy. By the time I left there I was exhausted and that olive oil was really heavy to carry!

We stepped off of one curb and on to another and right into the next place to spend more money. I bought some loose teas and these two items.

This is a combination of spice for mixing with olive oil and then doing the dunking thing. I know I could have made a mixture like this at home, but what they heck!

This is powdered spinach that you can add to any pasta dough to make it green. I didn't see anything red, but if I had you would be seeing it right now. I have a pasta machine that needs to be used so this will be the inspiration that I will use to drag it out of the cabinet and pretend I know what I am doing. The name of the store is The Spice Corner. It's cute and quaint and I just loved it. So I had a good time spending my money in Philadelphia not only at the restuarants but at the Reading Terminal Station, and in Little Italy. If you ever have a chance to visit Philadephia, go and explore and spend those culinary driven dollars!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Here Today and Gone Tomorrow...

I am not the world's best gardener. I know very little about gardening. I do know three things for sure though. You need lots of sunshine, plenty of water at the proper times and you need really good soil. I have control over only one of those three things and I am still not very good at that. I did have hubby buy some organic manure compost a month after we planted our garden and we blended in there so it would help with pests and the plants would get more nutrition.

I had not counted on these guys this year.

They and I mean about 8 or so of them, completely desamated my little flower box of parsley. They have been here once before a few years ago. I haven't seen them in a while and then I went out the back door to let the dogs out day before yesterday and something looked funny. There were these green stalks just sticking up out of my box and no leaves. Surely my lack of attention and our lack of rain did not leave just green sticks? I remember I was out there not more than two days ago looking at the parsley and there was some there!

Okay, so like I said-I am not a REAL gardener, just someone who plays at it. So let's take a closer look at what we are dealing with...

Boy, these guys are fat. They have eaten everything they could find. I never saw it coming. Well, I take that back. I was sitting in the living room looking out the window at the gardenia bush and saw one of these... All I did is admire the butterfly saying how pretty is was to the hubby and then finished knitting. I was never thinking about my little parsley patch!

So, I guess I will be buying parsley from the store the rest of this fall. If I see any chrysalis I will let you know. They were hard to spot the last time this happened. After I saw the chrysalis I would go out two or three times a day to check them. I don't know how they got past me but they were gone. So I may not get to see them again this time either.

Despite losing all my parsley, they are truly pretty and it's so amazing to me how one female butterfly can find my dinky pathetic patch of parsley to lay her eggs.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Trying New Things
I have been cooking when I have time. The rest of the time we either eat left overs, do take out or hubby cooks. When I say hubby cooks, I use that term "cooks" loosely. He grills. I have no problem with that because it's less I have to do in the kitchen and it doesn't mess up the kitchen either. So we are eating.

After a trip grocery shopping hubby surprised me with some white asparagus. He is getting more and more adventurous when he has that grocery list in his hot little hand along with the checkbook. I think it's great that he likes to try new things and doesn't mind playing culinary guinea pig. Hence the photo below...

I love green asparagus but have never tried the white ones. After eating them, I see why now. They were crisp and perfectly formed, but lacked flavor. We grilled them the same way we do the green version and it did nothing for them. I was a bit sad since some asparagus lovers make such a fuss over the white ones. I will continue to buy the green and be perfectly happy with those. Along with the white asparagus experiment, we have been eating a new fruit that we found in the local store where a I work part-time. I see new things, I have to try them. Now let me say that I am not a huge plum or apricot fan. I had this thing about fruit with hair on it when I was a kid. So I have avoided peaches and apricots for years and years. I would eat canned peaches, but never fresh ones. Of course any peach could be consumed as long as it was in pie or cobbler form, but not fresh.

I don't know when I changed my mind. I guess it's been since becoming a chef, that I decided that I should not make judgements without trying something first. So I started slowly with those packaged dried apricots. They were rather chewy but it thought they were okay. So I started cooking with them and just eating from the pouch as a snack when chocolate was scarce.

Then we got something called a Dinosaur egg at work and I had to try it. I think in some parts of the country they are called Pluots.(click on the link and read more about how they came to be. It's pretty interesting) They are a cross between a plum and an apricot. So it's a hair-less plum with some character.
Here is an up close photo of what the skin looks like. It's speckled a bit. Some don't have as much speckling but the inside is just as wonderful.

Here is what the inside of this one looks's a redish pink color and sweet as the day is long. The skin was a bit tough on the outside but the sweetness on the inside made up for the extra chewing to get there. I have eaten the Pluots at two different places and one batch was sweet and red, the other was not as red in the middle and not as sweet. So I guess the redness is a sign of ripeness. I really love these. They are just what I was looking for. I sweet fruit with no hair.

I know we all have our little weird things about food and now you know one of mine!

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Men alone with the Food Network...very bad!

I knew I should not have headed off to the Knitting Corner for a few hours to get some help with a few slipped stitches. That meant, my darling husband was home alone with the remote and The Food Network. I have left him unattended before, but this time he really went over the edge. Hubby was home alone watching Paula Deen evidently.

I love her shows because she cooks with real food that anyone has access to. She seems to be an authentic person and I just love the way she laughs. But I have to say, she seems to have this really weird hold on my husband. He just loves her shows! We have to watch them when they are on and now he has gotten hooked on her son's show Road Tasted. While I love all the shows, I don't really use any of the recipes. I can't use all that butter and we don't do a lot of fried foods anymore. So watching is just to appease hubby.

I should have learned my lesson when I left hubby alone with Tyler Florence. That one cost us a fortune in extra groceries. It was a tasty meal, but a lot of work for me. This time I didn't left a finger and got some benefits (in pounds) from all of his work.

Hubby headed off to the store with a list in his hand. I had not idea what he was up to, but I had give him a few things to pick up for a Labor Day cookout. I did knot know he had added things to the list. Boy did he ever!

I sat in the chair knitting away while he did his thing in the kitchen. He stopped and asked me a few questions, but he really did do all of this himself.

This is what he made. I didn't ask about the ingredients but I could smell chocolate wafting throughout the house. It drove me nuts and after the help I got at The Knitting Corner, I dropped some stitches thinking about what on earth that was.

Here are the results. It certainly looks innocent enough, but don't be deceived...there was more to come.Not only was hubby trying to knock my socks off with this slice of chocolate pie that tasted like a brownie, but then he made me put ice cream on the top. My eyes rolled up into the back of my head with one bite. It was like a brownie baked in a pie shell with pecans scattered throughout. Then the ice cream just sent me over the edge. I am not supposed to have sugar or ice cream either one. Do you think hubby is looking for my life insurance policy as I sit here and type??

The recipe is below:

Corrie's Kentucky Pie

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups sugar

1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels, melted

1 cup sifted self-raising flour

1 cup (2 sticks of butter), melted

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups chopped pecans

2 (9 inch) deep dish unbaked pie shells or 3 (9 inch) unbaked regular pie shells

Ice Cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine eggs, sugar, and melted chocolate in large bowl. Add flour and mix well, stirring in remaining ingredients except for pie shells. Bake 30-40 minutes.

Serve warm with ice cream. Freezes well!

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