Saturday, October 24, 2015

Jumer's Inspired Cinnamon Rolls

     Thirty years ago two young newlyweds, still in college, did not have the money for a long honeymoon.  However, that did not matter, because after three long years of engagement they were finally married.  They went to college in Peoria, IL and in that town there happened to be a fairy tale German castle, complete with a tower, stained glass windows, large dark beams, and a giant black bear.  This place was called Jumer's Castle Lodge.  It also had a German restaurant, which had always been one of their favorite places for a special date.  While waiting for the food to arrive, they would dream of honeymooning in one of the two story tower rooms, all the while picking out the beloved cinnamon rolls from the bread basket to eat first.  At the time, this was the place to come celebrate the most special occasions of life.

     They did indeed honeymoon at the Lodge, and started their journey together.  Finally, Jumer's Castle Lodge has since closed, and that bride who no longer resides in Peoria, Il decided to create her own version of those cinnamon rolls in honor of their upcoming 30th anniversary.

    These are just as good as I remember, if not better.

Jumer's Inspired Cinnamon Rolls

(Makes 40 1-inch Rolls)

2 1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1/4 c. Warm Water
1 1/2 c. Organic All Purpose Flour
1 c. Organic Whole Wheat Flour
4 1/2 tsp. Organic Sugar
4 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1/3 c. Cold Goat Butter
1/2 c. Cold Water

1/4 c. Melted Goat Butter, cooled
1 T. Cinnamon
1/2 c. Organic Sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9x13 baking pan.
Place the yeast in the warm water and mix.  In another bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour.  Mix with your hands breaking up the pieces and working in quickly until the mixture resembles course gravel.  Add the yeast mixture and cold water mixing with a fork until roughly together.  Finish bringing it together with your hands and make four balls of dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.  Take out a large sheet of parchment paper and place on the counter.  Lightly flour the paper and a rolling pin.  Roll out each piece of dough into a very long thin rectangle.  Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle with 3-4 teaspoons of the the cinnamon sugar.  Tightly roll up the dough starting with the long side.  Pick up the roll and place into the pan seam side down.  Repeat with the 3 other dough balls, and place each roll right next to each other in the baking pan.  Make slices 1 inch apart with a sharp knife, slicing deeply, almost all the way to the bottom of the pan.  Brush the top of the rolls with butter and sprinkle with about 4 tsp. of sugar.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool to luke warm and separate with a spatula. Serve in a bowl by itself or basket with assorted breads.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cranberry Cherry Chutney - Recipe

      Cranberry Cherry Chutney is the answer to my Thanksgiving and Christmas cranberry quandary.  Every year I like to try a new cranberry recipe.  In preparation for the big day, this afternoon I decided to put together a completely different take on the cranberry sauce idea.  I had frozen dark sweet cherries in my freezer and wondered what they would taste like with dried cranberries.  I added a bosc pear, chopped up green onion, and something for a little warmth.  I had no fresh peppers and don't care for black pepper here.  I thought about cayenne, but oh, here I have a new spice I have never tried before and kind of forgotten about.  Chipotle chili pepper.  Chipotle chilies are smoke dried jalapeƱos.  This was the perfect thing.  A little heat and a little smoke.  Wow.  The final product all came together.  The sweet, tart, chewy cranberries blended with the gentle pureed dark cherries perfectly.  The green onions gave it a savory note, and the pear -a lovely texture and freshness.  Then comes the Chipotle chili pepper with its earthy smokiness which infused its flavor without overpowering all the others.  All parts of the choir were heard in perfect harmony.  Pair it with the Thanksgiving turkey or roast chicken, and people will be singing your praises.

Cranberry Cherry Chutney

(Makes 2 cups)

3/4 c. Frozen Dark Sweet Cherries pureed
1 c. Dried Cranberries roughly chopped
1/2 c. Green Onion finely chopped
3/4 c. Bosc Pear finely chopped
1/4 tsp. + 1/8 tsp. Chiptole Chili Pepper
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sweet Potato Gratin - Recipe

There were sweet potatoes at the Leesburg Farmer's Market this weekend, to my great delight!  Big ones too, not little, tiny, skinny ones.  I was so excited, because they were chemical free and fresh!  I decided to do a sweet potato gratin; this would be awesome for Thanksgiving.  -Rich, creamy, garlicy, and cheesy.  The coconut milk is the secret surprise ingredient that pairs well with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Gratin

(Serves 8-10)

6 Large Sweet Potatoes thinly sliced
1 Large Yellow Onion thinly sliced
1 tsp. Salt
6 Turns Freshly Ground Pepper
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
13.5 oz. Organic Canned Coconut Milk
8 oz. Sharp Cheddar Goat Cheese grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 15x10 inch baking dish.  Layer the sweet potatoes in the baking dish.  Layer the onions on top.  Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and garlic powder on top of the potatoes and onions.  Stir the coconut milk until smooth if necessary and pour over the potatoes and onions.  Evenly distribute the cheddar cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Uncover and continue baking for 10 more minutes until the cheese begins to brown.  Remove from the oven and let it sit until it stops bubbling.  Serve warm.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Salmon Mousse Dip - Recipe

     I love Norwegian smoked salmon.  Often people see it on bagels offered for brunch.  I wanted to do something different with my special treat.  I decided to make a creamy mousse with it.  It has only three ingredients with a garnish of dill.  The sour cream brings the creamy texture, the salmon brings the smokey saltiness, and the horseradish adds a little spice.  I added dill, a beloved herb of the nordic countries, which adds to the dish's distinctive Scandinavian flare.

     I first served this at an afternoon tea with my friends.  They approved.

Salmon Mousse Dip

(Makes 1 cup)

8 oz. Norwegian Smoked Salmon
4 oz. Sour Cream
1 1/2 tsp. Prepared Horseradish
Fresh Dill torn into small sprigs
Water Crackers

Blend the smoked salmon and sour cream in a food processor pulsing on and off until finely chopped.  Remove to a bowl and stir in the horseradish.  Garnish with a fresh dill sprig.  Serve on water crackers.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Once In A Blue Moon

     Once in a Blue Moon  I do something that has no practical value except to myself.  In fact that is probably occurs less than Once in a Blue Moon.  Last night I took a picture of the beautiful Blue Moon.  The Blue Moon is the second full moon in a calendar month.  Apparently it is rather rare.  i.e. once in  Blue Moon.  This was my first attempt at taking a picture of the moon or sky.  I had to learn how to do it without ending up with a white shiny blob in the sky.  I am pretty happy with the results.  I could have gazed at this moon all night, it was so beautiful.  Pure Joy.

     I am grateful that our technology today is such that we can take great photos of the worlds around us.  I went online to search how to do it about 2 minutes before I took the picture and found this great article to help start me out. by Nasim Mansurov.  I have a Nikon D7100 and a 140mm lens, not the proper lens he suggests, but I am happy with my results.  No white bright blob.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Apple Crisp - Recipe

     I think I like apple crisp as much as I do apple pie.  Maybe even a bit more.  Let's be honest.  It is all about the topping.  The apples are a delightful addition with their juicy, sweet, and tart flavor, but it is the crumbly, brown sugar, oatmeal topping that we crave.  Mixing in the butter to a fine crumb is a key to making this crisp topping.  This will bring you accolades, and you will wonder why you don't make it more often.

Apple Crisp

(Serves 15 Pieces)


3 lb Granny Smith Apples
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 T. Regular All Purpose Flour
1/2 c. Organic Pure Cane Sugar


1 c. Regular All Purpose Flour
1 c. Brown Sugar
1 c. Oatmeal
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Cardamom
1/2 c. Goat Butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 9 x13 inch baking pan.  For the filling:  peel and slice the apples into thin slices, then place in a large bowl.  Add cinnamon, flour, and sugar.  Mix and toss with your hands to coat the apples evenly.  Set aside.  In a separate mixing bowl, combine the dry topping ingredients and whisk together.  Cut in the butter.  Using two forks, mash and work the butter into the dry ingredients until it is a fine crumb.  This will take a few minutes.  Distribute the apples in the baking pan.  Then distribute the topping evenly over the top, but leave a small opening in the middle to reveal the apples.  Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.  Reduce the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake another 30-45 minutes until the apples are soft and the juice bubbles in the middle opening.  All you need to look for is one tiny bubble to let you know that it has reached a temperature to cook the flour and has clear juice.  Sometimes it is hard to see if the apples are not very juicy.  If that is the case, carefully lift an apple in the center up with a fork to see if the juice underneath is bubbling.  If it is browning too fast, loosely cover with foil.  Once it is done, keep the topping crisp by storing at room temperature uncovered for up to two days.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Off to a Lavender Farm

   This afternoon we went out to a lavender farm called Blooming Hill.  I have been wanting to go to a lavender farm for a long, long time.  This is a beautiful little farmlet in the foothills of the Blue Ridge in western Loudoun County in Northern Virginia.  We happened to visit during their Lavender Festival!  That means, they had other interesting vendors, and served a cream tea with lavender flavored scones, shortbread, and ice cream!  I could not help but take a few pictures while we were there.  You can visit their website at

     Blooming Hill has several varieties of lavender plants and lavender products.  They also have a lovely gift shop of all things lavender.  It was a relaxing and fun afternoon!

This space looks like a Celtic knot with lavender in the spaces.

Edging the garden with china Plates!

Another view of the Celtic knot.

Watering cans outside the green house.

More gardens to explore.

Cute little green house.

I think wrought iron benches are so pretty.

Table set beautifully for tea.

Stunning presentation for scones and shortbread flavored with lavender.