An amazing wine – burgundy white wine Vire Clesse 2012

We found an amazing wine during a trip to Montreal recently. Do try it – truly incredible full bodied taste.

It is 2012 Viré-Clessé Quintaine, Pierrette et Marc Guillemot-Michel – a Burgundy White Vintage 2012.

I hope you can get a bottle of it- truly amazing and we had it with tapas type salami, olives and small grilled cheese sandwiches. YUM!

Pierre et Marc Guillemot Michel White Burgundy

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Prime rib – cooking a roast from frozen – and South African Gem Squash!

I have never done this before. But tonight – my husband and I were home due to an unexpected cancellation and I have had a rib roast in the freezer for a while – and decided that this was the night to roast it. However I only decided at about 4pm – not really enough time to defrost before roasting it. I have also not had great success defrosting stuff in the microwave – it tends to nuke the meat – so that was not an option.

So I tried an experiment. I heated the oven to 450 and then seasoned the roast with my favorite mixture – spices from Turkey which we bought from the spice market there – ie spicy curry and turmeric mixture – along with garlic salt and thyme and lemon pepper – and a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar. I rubbed that all in – then put the roast into the oven. I cooked it for about 18-20 minutes a pound – but that is really personal depending how rare you like your meat.

The interesting part about doing this is that the outside was rather well done ( which is how my husband likes it) and the inside was really rare ( which is how I like it) and the outside of the whole roast was caramelized and crusty – divine. We did put it back into the oven after we had cut the slices we liked since the inside was probably a bit too rare -it was way too much meat just for two of us – and roasted it about 20 minutes more ( I had roasted for 18 minutes a pound) and then when it cooled ( we did nibble a bit more I must admit!) put it into the fridge for tomorrow’s dinner. Amazing taste!

I served this with Gem Squash – ever heard of that? We used to have it in South Africa – my parents grew it – at least twice a week and the taste took me back to my childhood. YUM!

I also roasted 2 red onions cut into slices along with two sweet potatoes – I am fortunate to have two ovens so it was easy to time everything for the same ‘finish’ moment. A delicious and romantic dinner at home for two! Lucky us!

Here is the Gem Squash below. Boil or bake it – and cut in half – remove seeds and add butter ( and if splurging  – a teaspoon of brown sugar!).South_African_Gem_Squash

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A life of meaning is a life full of happiness – giving back creates a life of meaning

I consider myself blessed that my life is full of meaning – hence I am happy. This is not just my feeling. There has been significant research done on what it means to be happy. Here is a fascinating article on the topic – take a look.

http://bit.ly/Ameaningfulllifeiswhatcounts

Our group of women who have received scholarships from me at two universities agreed to support each other – not just rely on my mentorship. And we meet four times a year to encourage that. It is such a source of joy to me and to them to have this resource.

My family gives me another source of meaning – what could be more important than to leave a positive legacy for the next few generations? We have so much to teach them – it feels so urgent – as if the days are rushing by – and they are so programmed with so many activities – I feel like I have to sneak my learning into the few moments that we have the grandchildren to ourselves.  Better some than none…..

Some reminders of those precious souls – here Noah is preparing to cook with Grandma Larraine’s apron on! Isn’t he adorable?

 

Noah in Larraines Apron in MB ready to cook Oct 2014And here is what he cooked! For Halloween!

Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons white sugar

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 pinch cayenne pepper

2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds, washed and dried

cooking spray

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons white sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons of sugar, the cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne pepper, and set aside.
  3. Place the pumpkin seeds on the prepared baking sheet, spray them with cooking spray, and sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake the seeds in the preheated oven until lightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and stir in the toasted pumpkin seeds along with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Cook and stir the seeds until the sugar forms a coating on the seeds, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir the caramelized seeds into the bowl of sugar-spice mixture, toss and let them cool before eating! YUMMY!

 

 

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Chinese Dinner – and our Chinese ‘adopted’ son Wang Xuezong – a successful entrepreneur in China

In 1987 I was fortunate to be invited by the Head of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China to Beijing to lecture on the Role of Technology in Entrepreneurial Companies. It was an amazing trip – and the Chinese Government accompanied me with an entourage of translators, guides and an aeronautical engineer who was to be my technical assistant. His name was Wang Xuezong and my husband and I fell in love with him. He had never been into a western hotel or eaten with a knife and fork. He taught himself English through The Voice of America and he spoke it rather well. He traveled with us all over China – Shanghai, Hangszhou, Nanjing and further. And over the next 30 years as I traveled to China to even more places – Dalian, Guanzhou and beyond, he always flew to meet and accompany me. I tracked his career as Deputy Mayor of a large Sichwan city and Industrial park, he came to visit us in the USA, he studied in Manchester UK and much much more. Then on one visit to Shanghai he shared that he had left governmental service and was now a Venture Capitalist – one of the first ones in China. Soon he became an entrepreneur – no surprise – and now runs one of the emerging internet companies in China. We are in close contact ( he calls us Mom and Dad) and we have told him that when and if he finds his life partner – we will be there for the wedding – of course!

Here he is below:

Wang Xuezong 2014

And in his honor – a great recipe ( easy too) for Chinese Beef or Chicken Lo Mein

LO MEIN – CHICKEN OR BEEF

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of noodles – any kind – rice or egg or spaghetti type
  • 1 tsp of dark sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp of peanut oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp of minced fresh ginger root ( we grow our own)
  • 4 cups of mixed vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, , snow peas, mushrooms
  • 1 pound of filet mignon (thinly sliced – you could use flank – we like the finer cuts of meat)
  • 3 Tbsp of reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp of oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp of Asian chile paste with garlic

Directions:

1. Boil salted water in a large pot and cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet until ‘al dente’ which is firm to the touch.

2. Drain and transfer to a bowl and add the sesame oil and toss and cover to keep warm

3. Heat the peanut oil in a wok on medium high and cook garlic and ginger into the hot oil for about 30 seconds and then add the mixed vegetables and cook and stir till slightly tender for about 3 minutes.

4. Add the steak into the vegetable mixture and cook and stir until the beef is cooked through for about 5 minutes.

5. Mix soy sauce, brown sugar, oyster sauce and chile paste together in a small bowl and pour over the noodles – then put that mixture into the work with the vegetables and steak and cook and stir until the noodles are hot – 2-3 minutes.

SERVE and ENJOY!

This can also be done with thinly sliced chicken breast or without either chicken or beef and just with vegetables.

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Apologies for not posting for a month – been a VERY busy time – Cooking with kids – Banana Cream Pie – SOOO easy!

Max with Bananas Little Farm July 2014I love bananas – we grow them on the Little farm – above is our farm manager with a large bunch just last week – and I love pie. This is the easiest dessert I have ever made. Enjoy!Banana Cream Pie Oct 2014

 

Banana Cream Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 large jello banana cream pudding mix
  • 2.5 cups of cold milk
  • 3 large bananas
  • One pre cooked pie crust ( Marie Callendars are great)
  • 2 cups of Cool Whip
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Vanilla wafers for decoration

Directions:

  1. Bake the pie crust according to the directions for a one pie crust and let it cool completely
  2. Slice two of the bananas and separately mash one of them.
  3. Drizzle lemon juice over all bananas to prevent browning.
  4. Mix the pudding mix with 2.5 cups of cold milk and add the one mashed banana to the mix and mix well.
  5. Fold in the cool whip until creamy
  6. Place sliced bananas on the bottom of the cooked pie shell.
  7. Pour the creamy mix over the bananas into the shell.
  8. Decorate with crushed vanilla wafers – or if you prefer chocolate or caramel chips.
  9. Refrigerate for 3 hours minimum before serving.
  10. YUM!
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Chicken Nuggets – the low cal way – kids love them and so do adults! Cook them with your kids!

I love Chicken Nuggets but they are always deep fried. Here is a great tip from a Food Channel Show called Calorie Commando.

http://bit.ly/LowCalRecipes

Chicken Nuggets – Low Cal and Delicious:

Ingredients:

  • 3 Chicken breasts skinless and boneless cut into bite sized pieces ( you could use thighs if you prefer)
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs ( Panko is best)
  • Salt, thyme, and pepper to taste ( we use kosher salt sparingly as it is stronger, and fresh herbs chopped)
  • 1 cup of milk with 1 tbsp of vinegar added (  this will make it into buttermilk)
  • Oil Spray ( we use Pam)

Directions:

  1. Place the chicken pieces into the milk/vinegar mixture and let sit in the fridge while you chop the herbs and mix them with the salt and pepper and Panko breadcrumbs.
  2. Then take the pieces out of the liquid and coat well with the crumb mixture.
  3. Spray the coated pieces with oil spray and place them on a cookie sheet in an oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes then turn on the broiler for the last 5 minutes so that the pieces crisp.
  4. Enjoy with a yogurt spiced dip ( see recipe below).

Yogurt Spiced Dip

  • 1 cup of Non fat unsweetened yogurt ( FAGE is delicious)
  • 1/2 English cucumber chopped with skin on
  • 6 mint leaves ( fresh)
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper if you like spicy dips ( we don’t!)

Directions:

Add minced garlic to non fat unsweetened yogurt  and add chopped cucumbers and seasonings. Mix well and enjoy!

This week was a big one for the grandsons – the twins started pre-school – amazing! Here they are – soo excited!

Noah and Gabe first day at preschool amended Aug 2014

 

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Uses for Coca Cola – other than drinking it – amazing!

I found this link to 15 uses of Coca Cola other than drinking it and it was truly mind blowing! Take a look at it – its actually difficult to imagine that this omnipotent liquid is something that we ingest too…..

http://bit.ly/15UsesforCocaCola

Pretty incredible eh? The one I like a lot is the cleaning of your pots and pans – a continuing challenge for me and a close second is getting grease stains from clothes. What about taking the itch out of bug bites or stings? Or cleaning rust from pennies and other stuff? Oh and by the way, farmers in India use Coke as an insecticide !! Also it is apparently great for fertilizing your lawn or flowers or boosting you homemade compost! But the one that takes the prize is rinsing off the smell of skunk! We have had a couple of nasty incidents where our Rottweiler Sunny has had a contretemps with a skunk and the skunk won – spraying him with awful stink that he unhappily brought into the bedroom and ran around the house trying to get rid of it. It cost a lot to clean up after him and agonizing weeks of daily baths for him and huge cleaning bills for us until it finally faded. I did not know about Coke but I am surely going to try it if this ever ( please never) happens again!

 

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Thai Slow Cooker Chicken – cooking with kids – great tastes, easy recipe!

Thailand is called the land of smiles – perhaps its because the food is so delicious! Thai cooking combines sweet and hot, sour and creamy – and a common ingredient is coconut milk, another is peanuts and of course the ever present chili. We do not like spicy food so I always use ‘mild’ when ‘hot’ is called for – as with this recipe which is one of my favorites since it uses my trusty slow cooker – and I can throw everything in it then disappear into my busy life – coming  back home to a divine smelling kitchen and dinner ready to serve! WOW! Here my husband Clive and I are having a cooking lesson in Thailand at Chiang Rai at the Four Seasons Hotel. Fabulous.

Segil Cookathon at Four Seasons Chiang Mai

Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs with Thai Seasonings

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup hot salsa ( we use mild)
  • 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter ( Laura Scudders is the best – only peanuts no added sugar)
  • 3/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice ( we use fresh limes)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce ( remember that you can get gluten free soy if you need to!)
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar ( yes really – and its only a teaspoon so no need to get crazed over it)
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 pounds skinless chicken thighs ( the boneless kind work too)
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts, for topping ( you can add more of these if you love them as we do)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for topping

Directions:

  1. Combine the salsa, peanut butter, coconut milk, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, and ginger in the crock of a slow cooker; mix well. Place the chicken in the sauce, spoon mixture over chicken to coat.
  2. Place the lid on the cooker and set to LOW. Cook until chicken is very tender and sauce has thickened, 8 to 9 hours in other words a normal work day. YAY!!!!!
  3. A meat thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of a thigh should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Garnish with peanuts and cilantro before serving.
  4.  You can also put rice (Basmati is great so is brown rice) into a rice cooker and program that to be ready at the same time – don’t we live in wonderful times? Technology can truly facilitate our busy lives.
  5. Throw some greens, chives and chopped carrots into a salad bowl with a light dressing – and dinner is on the table!
  6. This recipe is SOO easy to make with children – they can put all the ingredients into the slow cooker and turn it on – that teaches them to plan ahead, measure things out properly and feel a sense of accomplishment when dinner is ready!
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Parmesan Broiled Tilapia – from our own fish hatcheries at The Little Farm

Parmesan Broiled Tilapia – yes we do raise our own fish at our Little Farm – just for our own use. And it tastes amazing. Fish that is fresh – as you probably know – has NO fishy smell and NO fishy taste. And once you have tasted this it is hard to eat fish that is NOT fresh but frozen as most of our fish is.  Here is a simple recipe – if you cant get it fresh then make sure that it does not smell. In large cities chinese markets and latino markets will have fresh fish in tanks so if you can find those – I strongly suggest you do! You will be hooked on the wonderful taste!

Tilapia

Here is a simple recipe to make with kids – for a mid week family meal.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  •  3 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil – or if you dont have it – use 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets

Directions

  1. Preheat the broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with fresh chopped basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Don’t over cook the fish. Serve with a green salad of chopped kale ( small pieces) arugula and a lemon juice, olive oil and mustard dressing.

Here the tilapia are swimming around the hatchery…..we thank them for their healthy contribution to our family and urban farming life…..

May 2012 Cooking Tilapia goats 041

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Broccoli Salad – divine! Easy to make with kids!

Broccoli from my gardenI love broccoli and so do my grandsons. This is a super recipe ( easy and fast) and can be made with lower fat Turkey bacon. The kids love to do this -especially breaking the broccoli and cauliflower florets off the stems. Give it a try! You could  use raw cauliflower of different colors ( white and yellow) and mix it in with the broccoli. You can see some of our little farm output above. YUM!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head fresh broccoli, cut into florets and bite size pieces ( I mix with colored cauliflower florets)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar ( you could use stevia  equivalent for lower calorie but I do not like the aftertaste)
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 10 slices turkey bacon

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon in a skillet until evenly brown. Cut into small pieces and set aside.
  2. In a salad bowl, toss together broccoli ( cauliflower), raisins and red onions. In a separate bowl, whisk together the white sugar or stevia, vinegar and mayonnaise. Pour over broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Before serving, sprinkle with sunflower seeds and crumbled bacon. Toss and serve
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