Monday, April 27, 2009

Treat Mom To Mother's Day Brunch At Airlie!

Monday Morning Blog

What's Airlie?

Airlie is a drop dead gorgeous, environmental research and conference center in Fauquier County just outside of Warrenton.

The fabulous restaurant at Airlie is not open to the public but Mother's Day Brunch to benefit the Fauquier Family Shelter will give you a rare taste of this long standing, hunt country tradition.

Brunch is by advance ticket purchase, only, and part of the ticket price is tax deductible as a donation to the shelter.

The experimental and sustainable kitchens at Airlie are always whipping up the yummy and the unexpected. The staff is young, energetic and cooks their little hearts out.

The huge buffet feast has something for every taste and includes plenty of delicious dishes that just happen to be vegetarian.

You'll feast on local, free range eggs and omelets made to order, crepes stuffed with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, roasted salmon with spring asparagus cream, gilled vegetables, whole wheat pasta with roasted red pepper pesto, slow roasted - cabernet of local beef, salads of organic greens with home made dressings - and dessert, oh the desserts - blackberry cobbler, apple tarts and a host of other tempting, home made treats.

Most of the food served is local with much of the produce coming from their own massive garden and greenhouse. Mom will love it (and you will, too)!

Curious about Airlie?
Out of the area?

Check out their web site:

Mother's Day Buffet Brunch to Benefit the Fauquier Family Shelter
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Airlie Conference Center
11AM-2PM (4 seatings)

Adults $45
Youth (7-12) $20
Children (6 and under) Free

For reservations call (540) 341-0900
Sorry, no tickets will be available at the door.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Plan Your Kitchen Garden With Preserving Your Harvest In Mind

Monday Morning Blog

Now's the time to think about canning tomatoes, drying herbs, making pesto and freezing green beans.

With a little planning, you can stretch summer's bounty through the winter. Not only will you have that great taste of summer but preserving food stretches your food dollar and gives you a sense of security in these uncertain times.

Plant what you want to preserve and in the amounts you'll need. Plan how you'll do your preserving based on the foods you family likes to eat. Preserving food doesn't have to be an ordeal of never ending work.

Determinate tomatoes, for example, are considered better for canning because you'll get a crop all at once. But if you don't have time to can a whole harvest, do a few jars here and there using indeterminate varieties of tomatoes which spread their yield over the entire season.

Green beans are another example. As you're deciding what variety to buy, check their yield. Large yields, all at once may be easier to can or freeze but beans that produce all season will give you smaller yields to deal with at one time.

Herbs give you lots of flavor for not much work. They're easy to grow and you can preserve them by drying, freezing or making flavored oils.

Some garden produce doesn't need anything other than a cool place to keep them garden fresh. Winter squash, apples, potatoes and onions can be stored in a classic root cellar but any very cool room will work just as well. Even a barrel of sand in the garage or a deep lined hole in the ground can be a mini root cellar.

Some vegetables, like carrots, can be left right in the ground and covered with mulch. Whenever you need them, it's just a matter of a trip to the garden.

When planning your garden, plan how you'll preserve your harvest, too.

Rosemary Oil
Absolutely gorgeous for salads, scrambling eggs and brushing on meats before grilling. Try it on a toasted baguette then top the whole thing with sliced tomatoes from the garden. Yum! Rosemary oil is pure heaven and you'll find dozens - if not hundreds of uses for it!

Makes 1 pint
3 or 4 sprigs fresh rosemary (each about 3 inches long - washed and well dried)
2 cups olive oil (approximately)

Put rosemary into a pint canning jar or similar glass container. Pour in oil to cover. Cap jar. Refrigerate several days before using to let the flavors develop. Lasts indefinitely in the refrigerator. Do not store at room temperature.

Karla's tips:
Olive oil becomes solid in the refrigerator. Make sure the jar you use has an opening wide enough so you can scoop out the oil.

Be sure to use a glass container. Plastic is porous if you use it instead of glass (which is not porous) everything in your refrigerator will taste of rosemary.

If you have an extra "storage" refrigerator in the basement or garage (as many people do), you can make up enough rosemary oil to last you through the winter.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Whip Up A Batch of Home Made Easter Candy and Watch Every Bunny's Eyes Light Up

Monday Morning Blog

Remember the home made chocolate eggs that grandma tucked into your Easter basket?

Old fashioned flavors like chewy coconut or peanut butter crème hiding inside her hand formed chocolates.

Turn back the clock and recreate those melting moments with a few quick recipes that will take you home to grandma's

Hand Made Coconut or Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Easter Eggs

Use semi sweet, milk or white chocolate for the shell then mix or match your filling flavors.

Makes 1 large egg (measuring 5 1/2 X 3 3/4 inches with a volume of 1 1/4 cups)

1 1/4 cups chocolate chips (semi sweet, milk or white - divided)
1 recipe Chewy Coconut or Virginia Peanut Butter Crème (recipe follows)

Put 3/4 cup chips into a small, microwave safe bowl. Heat on high one minute. Remove from microwave. Chips will not look melted but will be soft. Do not over heat. Stir softened chips until smooth.

Immediately pour chocolate all at once into the mold. Spread evenly (The back of a coffee spoon works well.)

If the chocolate slides down the sides of the mold, briefly refrigerate the chocolate in the mold (30 seconds to 1 minute) and re-spread.

Wipe away any chocolate that extends beyond the top of the rim. Refrigerate 3 to 4 minutes till hard then put into the freezer for 1 minute.

When chocolate is set, spoon in filling to 3/8 inch from top.

Melt remaining chocolate as before and pour all at once onto filled shell, spreading quickly to cover. Make sure chocolate seals the edges. Return to refrigerator (or freezer) to set completely - 3 to 5 minutes. Invert chilled egg onto a flat surface and pop out of mold.


Chewy Coconut

Make this filling in advance so the coconut has time to absorb the corn syrup. If you love Mounds candy, you'll love this!

Stir together:

2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut (the packaged kind)
1/2 cup light corn syrup

Virginia Peanut Butter Crème
Set a timer so you beat this long enough.

8 oz. powdered sugar (sifted)2 sticks butter (softened - margarine not recommended)
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon white vegetable shortening
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter (regular commercial type - not fresh ground or natural style)
1 teaspoon salt

Combine using a heavy duty mixer on low then beat on high 4 minutes. Do not under beat.