Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer of 2013 So Far

 Why haven't there been more posts on Jarvis House Blog this summer?  Maybe it's because there was so much going on.  Here is an Osprey's nest perched on top of a boat lift at a nearby beach club.  The parents were diving into Huntington Harbor for Bunker to feed to their young.
  There was the kitchen that our family gutted at our son's house.  We had just installed the vinyl flooring.
 I went into New York City with a friend to a very lovely French restaurant.
The weather was wacky, cold, rainy, really hot for over a week, then rainy, but a rainbow formed one afternoon.
 I was lucky enough to visit the Google building in New York City with another friend.
 They bought the very large New York City Transit building and have transformed the interior to very high tech standards.  Although I wasn't permitted to take pictures, I can tell you that there was a lot of color, food, and creativity going on inside!
 These were the essentials that I kept on the dryer right next to my back door.  Because of the daily rain and heat, mosquitoes were everywhere.  At the suggestion of a friend I tried the clip on repellent and the spray on.  I continued to be attacked, so I stocked up on alcohol, which hazel, and Benadryl spray.  I also used sun block and wore sun glasses all of the time.
A Tiger Swallow  Tail hovered on the Pholx.
Lovely Japanese Iris
 One of the many varieties of Day Lily
 Across the street, on the Village Green, the Militia hung King George in effigy,
 and boomed their cannon.

 The Miscanthus really grew to new dimentions because of all the rain.
 A black Tiger Swallow Tail visited the Phlox.
 The plants in my containers did dwell with all of the mositure.
I took care of Nick the Boxer for a week.  He loves his toys and blanket.
 Yesterday I went for the first time to Robert Moses Beach.
 After the distruction of Hurricane Sandy, the state restored the beach.  It seemed to be flatter, but lovely.
 Eyes in the sky were watching us.
 The dune grass and snow fenses were restored.

 There were the usual Sea Gulls,
 some new shells.
 and Terns were feeding on the beach.
 They usually stay in the dunes, but very tiny mollusks were plentiful, so they were having a banquet picking them out of the sand.
A double Day Lily out front.  All in all Summer so far has been busy, and fun, but rainy and really hot.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Buttery Toast Ramekins a great Foundation for Hors D'Oeuvers

 I offered to help my good friend Laura, several days before her wedding. She asked me if I would assist with the Bread Ramekins for the Hors D' Oeuvres.  Well I did not know what that meant, but I was open to learning one of her catering secrets.
 Laura bought twelve bags of whole wheat bread and used a heavy marble rolling pin to flatten the slices.
 She really pressed down hard and even rolled out the end slices.
 I grabbed a stainless metal drink holder and used the open end for a cookie cutter.  It was the perfect diameter for the bread circles, and could hold several circles of bread until we used a finger to poke them out.
 We were able to cut two circles from each flattened slice of bread.
 Laura put the circles back into an empty bread bag to keep them soft until we were ready for the next step.
 She coated each circle bottom with melted butter.
 Then she pushed the circles into the cups of a  non-stick mini-muffin  pan.
 The pan held twenty-four (24)  mini bread cups.
 We put the trays into the oven at
 305 degrees F.
For about eight (8) minutes.

 I checked on them and when they looked golden brown and a bit crispy, I removed the pans to cool.  Depending upon which rack the pans were on, and the type of pan, the time to bake can be different.
 Since the wedding was two days later we needed to store the Ramekins.
 I collected cookie tins, and after we rinsed them off and dried them, Laura lined the tins with parchment paper.
 We carefully stacked up the ramekins.
 Next I asked Laura what sort of fillings would go well in the bread cups.   She had already prepared a mushroom duxelle  with additions, and made an Hors D' Oeuvre.  She baked this for seven (7) minutes, or until done.  The duxelle was made with shallots, Cremini mushrooms, (baby Portobello),  and butter.  This mixture is reduced in a pot for two (2) hours and then flour is added with lemon juice and a little cayenne pepper .  Stir with vigor. Add some salt and heavy cream,  milk, soy product,  or half and half, to thicken.

 Along with bit of grated cheese the appetizer was complete.  Laura said that any non-runny filling such as grated cheese, thick tomato sauce, with chopped Basil, sort of a Pizza-like filling, could be designed for these bite-sized cups.  The idea for a party Hors D' Oeuvre, would be something that could be passed out from a platter with a small napkin and eaten  by the guest in one bite.  Finely chopped sea food, or a vegetable quiche-like filling, both, which would need baking,  would be great too. 
I calculated that with sixteen (16) slices of bread per loaf, and twelve (12) loaves, with two (2) circles per slice we made 384 Bread Ramekins for the party. 
The leftover bread was cycled into bread crumbs, and croƻtons.