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Tag Archives: Food

 
Celebrating Valentine’s Day with your honey doesn’t have to be complicated. 

“I Love U Berry Much” (Heart-shaped Strawberries) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G, F/6.3, 1/6s, -0.7EV, Built-in Rear-Curtain Flash w/Gary Fong “Puffer” Diffuser, -0.3EV

Bottle of bubbly.

Bowl of strawberries.

Melted dark chocolate.

(Clothing optional. ;-) )

It’s not often that one can dine like a queen, but that is exactly how I felt at the ‘White Truffle Food & Wine Dinner’ at Victoria & Albert’s,  a fine dining restaurant at the Grand Floridian Resort, Walt Disney World. This wasn’t simply a ‘dinner’, but rather, a gastronomic experience!

From the moment we stepped through the double doors, dressed in clothing fitting such an event (I, in a cream gown, hubby in a tux), we were greeted warmly by Lana and escorted to our table, formally set with linens, fine china and real silver flatware. A small ottoman promptly arrived next to my chair to discreetly hold my evening bag as we were handed our personalized menus for the evening.

I felt a combination of excitement and nerves as to what was to happen next. Random thoughts ran crazily through my head… ‘Just breathe’…  ‘Don’t drop your napkin’…  ‘Elbows off the table’…  ‘Did I put on antiperspirant??’…  ‘Oh, my, what is that knife for?’

The outstanding wait staff did all they could to put us at ease so, as I sipped champagne and chatted with our friends at the table, I relaxed and thought, ‘Yeah, I can do this.’ :-)

Folks, it was wonderful!  Chef de Cuisine Scott Hunnel is a master at his craft and, along with his elite staff (led by Israel Perez, Maitre d’ Hotel and Erich Herbitschek, Pastry Chef), presented plate after exquisite plate. My taste buds will never be the same but I know they are better for the experience.

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The slideshow doesn’t begin to do the food justice (poor lighting, no room to move, etc.). As the evening wore on (dinner lasted 6 hours), we were all feeling the effects of the wine and the ambience (which totally explains that one photo showing a mostly eaten cheese course. Ooops! ;-) )

If you ever get the chance to enjoy such an evening, I strongly recommend it!

Please Note: Unfortunately, I cannot control how quickly the images advance. HOWEVER, if you hover your mouse over the slideshow area, a set of controls will display allowing you to STOP the auto advancement of the images. Then, you can use the forward and back arrows to scroll through the images at your leisure.

On this day of giving thanks, I am truly grateful for my husband, kitty, warm home, my family, wonderful friends and neighbors, good health, abundance of joyful days and a belly full of turkey! ;-)

“Thank-FULL” (Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner) Nikon D300, 62mm, F/5, 1/10s, +0.7EV, ISO 1000, Built-in i-TTL Flash, -1.0EV

Here’s hoping all your plates are equally full!

Happy Thanksgiving! :-)

Gertrude Noyes (aka, Nancy’s mom) made the most wonderful blueberry cake. Nothing fancy, mind you, but rather a fairly simple cake, dotted with sweet blueberries throughout and dusted with cinnamon sugar. Yummmmm. :-)

“Gert’s Blueberry Cake” (Blueberry Cake) Nikon D300, 70mm, F/5.6, 1/50s, -0.7EV, ISO 1000, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV

This delicious treat would usually arrive as a surprise on a Saturday or Sunday morning, still warm from the oven, the aroma of cinnamon filling the air. Didn’t matter if we’d already had our breakfast or not. Resistance was futile. ;-)

Blueberry Anticipation

Years ago, I was fortunate to acquire the recipe from Nancy which I tucked neatly into my recipe binder. Starting in early August, blueberry memories began wafting into my brain and when I saw quarts of wild blueberries (the best kind) at a local farmstand, I knew I hadto make that cake! Therefore, on a bright Saturday morning, I gathered the ingredients and, following the recipe to the letter, happily anticipated the tasty results.

“Yes, Please” (Blueberry Cake Square) Nikon D300, 50mm, F/5.6, 1/15s, -0.3EV, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Vignette Blur’ Filter

Hot from the oven, the cake looked and smelled divine. I put a pot on for tea while the cake cooled just a bit and impatiently waited for the moment when I could cut into my blueberry masterpiece. A good deep inhale of that cinnamon aroma and then, finally, that first bite.

Wait for it…wait for it…wait…damn. How could this be? Instead of the expected gastric euphoria, both hubby and I were, well, sadly disappointed. It wasn’t that the cake was bad, but it certainly wasn’t Gert’s. Something was missing. :-(

A couple of days later, I yelled over the fence, “Hey, Nancy! When your mom made her (famous) blueberry cake, did she use lard?” 

“No, she always used shortening.”

“No butter?”

“Nope. Never.”

“Huh. Well, I made the cake and it tasted… flat. And, it wasn’t as moist as hers. Did I over-bake it?”

“Hmmm, I doubt it. What did you use for milk?”

And, just like that, it hit me. You see, back in the day, milk was milk. There wasn’t 2%, 1% or skim, no lactose-free or soy or almond. When a recipe called for milk, it meant wholemilk. An item that is not regularly found in my icebox. Mystery solved. :-)

“Spread” (Blueberry Cake Buffet) Nikon D300, 45mm, F/5.6, 1/50s, -0.3EV, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser

With new confidence in hand (and enough blueberries remaining), it was back to the kitchen to try again. In addition to using whole milk, I also made a few more tweaks to the recipe (we bakers just can’t resist can we? ;-) ).

For example, I like to grease and sugar my cake pans as it adds just a little extra sweetness that flour can not deliver. I also like to layer flavors, so instead of using plain white sugar and plain table salt, I substituted vanilla sugar and vanilla salt. I also used two kinds of vanilla extract since each adds their own bit of ‘something’ to the finished product.

When the timer went off, anticipation along with a bit of nervousness, swelled within me. I prepared the tea, gathered the plates, utensils and napkins, cut and served the slices and then waited for hubby to take the first bite. 

“Have a Bite” (Blueberry Cake) Nikon D300, 70mm, F/5.6, 1/100s, -0.7EV, ISO 1000, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser

“Well?” 

“It’s delicious.”

Woo hoo! :D

Happily, Nancy concurred and it was a delightful Saturday morning, sipping tea and noshing on a (now) treasured family recipe, shared amongst good friends and remembering a cherub-faced Gert whom, I hope, I made proud.

Folks, it doesn’t get any better than that. :-)

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