Monday, May 30, 2011

Herb-Encrusted Omelette with Plum Tomatoes

My other half says this omelette is an explosion of herbs! lol

6 eggs
3 tbsp. cold water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tbsp. chives
1 tbsp. tarragon
1 tbsp. herbes de Provence
2 plum tomatoes, with seeds removed and diced
1 tbsp. butter

In bowl, whisk together eggs, water, salt and pepper.
Stir in parsley, chives, tarragon and herbes de Provence.
Melt butter in skillet.
Add egg mixture to skillet and stir with fork until eggs begin to set.
Increase heat and cook for several minutes, until eggs begin to brown underneath.
Remove omelette from skillet, add tomatoes, fold omelette.
Cut omelette in half and serve.

Growing Edible Flowers

Well, being a seamaiden, I obviously have never had much of a green thumb. But the lure of growing my own edible flowers to serve in desserts and salads was just too tempting. I surfed on over to Amazon and ordered these Viola Amber Jewel edible flower seeds for a mere $2.39. So now they are planted in a pot and sitting in my sunny south window waiting to emerge in the next 7-10 days. I will let you know when I see the first sprout. And while you're waiting, check out some of Amazon's other edible flower options, including an edible flower kit and edible flower books.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fruit Salad, Seamaiden Style

Here's a fun way to serve up a simple and healthy fruit salad seamaiden style. Simply fill a large serving bowl with diced pineapple and hulled and quartered strawberries. Quarter a canteloupe, remove the seeds and the outer skin; then use mermaid, moon, star, heart and diamond cookie cutters to cut through the quartered canteloupe slices. Cut up any remaining canteloupe and add to fruit salad. Serve fruit salad in individual bowls and top each serving with the canteloupe cut-outs!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Apricot Scones with Honey Pistachio Cream

Another scone recipe with dried apricots and honey pistachio cream to elevate the yum factor.

Apricot Scones Ingredients
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Scones Directions
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Cut butter into mixture until crumbly.
Stir in apricots.
Stir in heavy cream until all ingredients are well mixed.
Roll dough into 8 balls or crescents.
Bake on a greased baking sheet at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Honey Pistachio Cream Ingredients
1 (3 oz.) package of fat-free cream cheese
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tbsp. honey
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup salted pistachios, finely chopped

Cream Directions
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream and honey. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add cream and beat until stiff peaks form. Cover and chill. Add pistachios before serving.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spring Mix with Honey Mango Dressing

Serve this scrumptious and light fruit-filled salad to kick off summer this Memorial Day weekend.

Salad Ingredients
5 oz. spring mix
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
The slices of 3 large navel oranges, peeled and cut into thirds
1 lb. strawberries, cut into quarters
1 can sliced black olives

Salad Directions
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle Honey Mango Dressing over salad, or serve dressing on the side.

Honey Mango Dressing
2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup orange juice
6 tbsp. Champagne vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Dressing Directions
In the container of a blender, combine mangoes, orange juice, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Liquefy mixture. With blender still running, gradually add olive oil. Store unused dressing in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Fabulous Grocery Store Meal

Well, a long day working our yard sale yesterday meant that dinner was going to have to be quick and easy--a rare night without a meal cooked from scratch. So the other half and I sauntered over to our local Weis Market to pick up steak and stuffed mushrooms. Of course, we had to add our own personal touches to the meals. He marinated his steak with extra-virgin olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper and a smidge of red crushed pepper, and added sauteed freshly sliced white mushrooms and vidalia onion for good measure. He is quite the chef! I jazzed up the crab-stuffed mushrooms with olive oil, minced garlic and white wine and let it simmer on the grill.  Add your choice of adult beverage, and you have the makings of a great grocery store meal!

Breakfast Cupcakes

My significant other's face resembled that of a kid on Christmas morning when he came down to breakfast this morning. Serve these ham and egg cupcakes up to your loved ones for a similar reaction.

12 slices thin-sliced black forest deli ham
4-6 slices provolone cheese
12 eggs
cooking spray

Coat the cups of a muffin pan with cooking spray. Line the cups with a slice of ham. Cut the provolone slices in half and layer on bottom of ham slices. Break eggs and pour into each ham slice. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until eggs are set. Serve with toast or English muffins.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mermaid Sugar Cookies

Well, as promised, here are some sugar cookies in the shape of a seamaiden! I admit my icing skills are only mediocre, but they still turned out pretty cute. Once I invest in one of those Wilton cake decorating classes, there will be no stopping me! lol

To make these sugar seamaidens, simply bake your favorite sugar cookie recipe. If the dough is too soft to cut out a shape, add flour by the tablespoonful until it is the right consistency. Then roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out your seamaiden.

For icing, I used Wilton icing in a tube in leaf green, pink and red. To add some bling to the tails, cover in pink sugar pearls. The icing and sugar pearls should be readily available at JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores.

To purchase a mermaid cookie cutter, check out my Mermaid Cookie Cutter post.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Olive-Stuffed Chicken

This recipe incorporates fat-free cream cheese and black olives to jazz up a chicken dinner.

4 boneless chicken breast halves
4 oz. fat-free cream cheese
1 can sliced black olives
1/8 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1 tbsp. olive oil

Flatten chicken to 1/4 inch thickness.
In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, olives, oregano and pepper.
Spoon cream cheese mixture down the center of the chicken.
Fold chicken over cream cheese mixture and secure with toothpicks.
Roll the chicken in bread crumbs.
In a large, oven-proof skillet, brown chicken in olive oil.
Bake chicken at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until juices run clear.
Remove toothpicks and serve.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Seamaiden's Marble Cake

Take an excursion into chocolate and vanilla bliss with this marble cake recipe.

5 egg whites
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup hot water
1 cup sugar, divided
1 cup 1% milk
3 tablespoons oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Cooking spray

Let egg whites stand for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
Dissolve cocoa in water and let stand until cool.
In a large bowl, beat 3/4 cup sugar, milk, oil, and vanilla and almond extracts until blended.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt and beat into sugar mixture.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until peaks form.
Gradually beat in remaining sugar on high speed until stiff peaks form.
Stir in the cocoa.
Coat a tube pan with cooking spray.
Alternately spoon the vanilla and chocolate batters into pan. Cut through the batter with a knife to swirl.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until a tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
Cool cake for 15 minutes. Remove cake and place on wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Seamaiden's Secret Treasures: Mermaid Cookie Cutter

My baking fantasies are soon to become reality when this adorable mermaid cookie cutter arrives in my mailbox. Be prepared, dear readers, to see cookies of every variety take the shape of a seamaiden on this blog!  And my head is just spinning with all the icing embellishment possiblilites! This little siren of the bakery is available to order on Amazon for a slick $1.89. And the Fox Run Marine Life Cookie Cutter Set, also available on Amazon for $6.12, is next up on the shopping list.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chicken and Spring Mix Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing

My significant other was always the type that wanted to leave salads to the bunnies. But since I've been serving them up on a regular basis, he has gained a new appreciation for the salad as a light, fully satisfying meal. This chicken and salad combo received his stamp of approval for dinner last night.

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 chicken breast cutlets
Cooking spray
3/4 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
1 pint grape tomatoes
9.5 oz. Kalamata olives, pitted
5 oz. spring mix
1 1/2 tsp. champagne vinegar
1 tsp. herbes de Provence
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced

Combine 1 tbsp. oil, rind, juice and chicken. Let stand 5 minutes.
Coat a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Cook on each side until done. (You may also grill the chicken, if desired.)
Remove chicken from heat and keep warm.
Combine the spring mix, tomatoes and olives in a large bowl.
Combine vinegar, herbes de Provence, mustard, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Add 2 tbsp. oil and stir with a whisk.
Coat the salad with the vinaigrette and toss.
Divide salad among serving plates. Cut the chicken into strips and arrange over salad.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Liriodendon: The House That Love Built

A solitary walk on Bel Air's famous and oft-trodden Ma and Pa Trail almost always calls me to the staggeringly steep trudge up the slope that leads to the house sitting in a woodland scene reminiscent of a fairy tale. And following another strenuous slog up the picturesque garden path steps that border a delightfully pretty ice house, the Liriodendron's portico comes into breathtaking view.

The Liriodendron, standing lordly in the woods of Bel Air, still whispers from its wooded path, babbling fountain and garden hideaways of the passion that inspired its creation. Known throughout town as the "house that love built," the Liriodendron (so named because of the tulip poplars that lined the drive to the house) was the summer hideaway of Dr. Howard A. Kelly, the pioneering surgeon who founded Johns Hopkins Hospital, and his beloved wife, Laetitia.

Although the good Dr. Kelly adored his summer sojourns filled with camping, hunting and collecting forest specimens in Canada, he adored his Laetitia even more. When his native Prussian bride expressed her homesickness, Dr. Kelly paid $12,000 for 196 acres on the western edge of Bel Air in 1898, and he designed the mansion in tribute to the Palladian villas for which Laetitia longed.

Together, Howard and Laetitia Kelly lived and loved the summers away at the Liriodendron until they died six hours apart, neither ever knowing the other was dying, in January 1943. The Liriodendron lives on, with its stunning Georgian Revival architecture and the countless couples who exchange their vows on the wisteria-covered front porch, as a testament of the Kellys' love and devotion.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Seamaiden's Sand Tarts

Who makes the tastiest sand tarts? Seamaidens do, of course!

1 cup butter
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. vanilla
Dash of salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and confectioner's sugar with an electric mixer.
Beat in flour, pecans, vanilla and salt.
Roll dough into balls or cresents.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Let cool a bit before removing from cookie sheet.

Makes about a dozen large cookies.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Seamaiden's Secret Treasures: Garden Accents at Pamella and Rose Home Furnishings

Nothing makes this seamaiden's landlocked life in Bel Air, Maryland more delightful than a shopping trip to the chichi yet sophisticated boutiques of downtown. My latest find, from Pamella and Rose Furnishings, is this enchanting frog and cattail garden stake, complete with lantern ($68). The spring flowers have yet to be planted, but this little charmer (along with a burbling fountain) will add a big touch of water garden fantasy to this corner of our yard.

Pamella and Rose Furnishings is located at 100 N. Main Street, Bel Air, Maryland.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pan-Seared Scallops with Bacon and Spring Mix

The perfect meal for date night. Simply serve this up with a glass a wine, and he will be eating out of your hand!

7 slices center cut bacon
1 tbsp. butter
1 lb. sea scallops
1/4 tsp. + 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. + 1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup onion, chopped
7 cloves garlic, sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes
5 oz. mixed greens

Cook bacon over medium-high heat in large skillet until crisp.
Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tbsp. drippings in pan.
Chop bacon and set aside.
Increase heat to high and add butter to pan.
Spinkle scallops with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Add scallops to pan and cook until done on each side.
Remove scallops from pan and keep warm.
Add onion, garlic and tomatoes to pan and saute for 3 minutes.
Add half of greens to pan and cook until wilted.
Add remaining half of greens to pan and cook until wilted.
Remove from heat and add remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
Add greens mixture to serving plate and top with scallops and bacon.
Serve immediately.

Orange Parfait for Mother's Day

Mom will think you slaved over this smooth and silky dessert when you serve it up to her on Sunday. But this orange parfait is a cakewalk to make. However, we will keep that fact our little secret. ;-)

4 egg yolks
5 tbsp. confectioner's sugar
6 tbsp. frozen orange juice, thawed
1 cup heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add orange juice.
In a separate bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form.
Fold cream into egg mixture. Pour mixture into a mold.
Freeze for at least 4 hours.
Let mold sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. To remove parfait, dip mold in warm water. Or you may spoon the parfait into serving dishes.

Serve with orange slices and dessert wine!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Apricot-Almond Chicken

This concoction of apricot-almond sauce ratchets up the wow factor of tonight's chicken dinner more than a few notches.

1 can (16 oz.) apricot halves, chopped
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tbsp. teriyaki sauce
3 tbsp. + 1 tsp. vegetable oil
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Strain apricot liquid into a bowl. Stir in orange juice, teriyaki sauce and 1 tsp. oil.
Place flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Shake well to mix. Add chicken and shake to coat.
Heat 3 tbsp. oil in large skillet. Remove chicken from bag (do not discard the flour mixture) and cook on both sides until done. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
Remove chicken from skillet.
Add onion and garlic to skillet and cook until translucent. Add more oil to skillet if needed.
Stir in orange juice mixture and apricots. Boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
Stir in 2 tbsp. of the flour mixture. Cook until sauce thickens. Add chicken to sauce and heat through.
Remove chicken to serving plate. Stir almonds into sauce. Spoon sauce over chicken.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mocha Pound Cake

The moist, dense deliciousness of this cake qualifies it as a most decadent dessert. No frosting required!

5 eggs
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. instant coffee granules
1/4 cup hot water
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Grease a 10-inch tube pan.
In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, mayonnaise and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy.
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Dissolve coffee granules in hot water and stir into buttermilk.
Beating at low speed, add flour mixture alternatively with coffee mixture to egg mixture. Beat until well blended.
Pour batter into tube pan.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until a tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
Cool thoroughly before removing from pan.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Simply Charmed Boutique Is a Seamaiden's Dream

Simply Charmed Boutique, located in downtown Bel Air, truly is this seamaiden's dream when it comes to kitchenware and cottage chic furnishings with a definite seaside flair. It's the only local establishment where I have been able to find dinnerware and serveware fit for a seamaiden's table. This serving bowl, with a seashell and starfish pattern, is by Mud Pie and available at Simply Charmed for a very reasonable $45. I found a set of four dinner plates with a stylish seashell fabric backing for an amazing $20!! The Mud Pie linen napkins with a graceful embroidered starfish are the perfect table accent for a cool $12 each. And my fins are still aflutter for the custom made, handpainted mermaid wine glass I ordered for under $25.

Simply Charmed Boutique is located at 138 N Bond Street in Bel Air, Maryland. Along with all the fin-tastic kitchenware, you will find a selection of bedazzling hair accessories, handbags, throw pillows, candles and beach house furniture. A dreamy array of wares by local artisans are available, including a selection of crystal and silver handmade jewelry by owner Susan Morris. So chart a course for Simply Charmed Boutique today. It's worth the drive or seamaiden's swim!