This is one of my favorite weeks of the year. What I mean is the golfing year. I love to play and watch golf, but especially like to watch the Majors. Well this week is The Open or otherwise known to us Americans as The British Open, but the true name is “The Open” and this year is special because The Open is being played at the birth place of golf, The Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland.
The Old Course at St Andrews is one of the oldest golf courses in the world, a public course over common land in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. It is held in trust by The St Andrews Links Trust under an act of Parliament. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews club house sits adjacent to the first tee, although it is but one of many clubs that have playing privileges on the course, along with the general public.
The Old Course at St Andrews is considered by many to be the “home of golf” because the sport was first played on the Links at St Andrews in the early 1400s.
The Open Championship on the Old Course at St Andrews for a record 29th time.
I always the love The Open for lots of reasons. First, it starts very early in the morning here in the eastern time zone. So when I get up at six, and start working, live tv coverage is already on. Second, the links style of the course is completely different from in the US. Third, I love watching the play in heavy wind, 50 degrees and rainy in mid July. Fourth, I love the BBC broadcasters and how they talk about the game.
My neighbor brought me a gift of 2 gallons of fresh raspberries. So when I was looking for a new recipe to make with this gift, I decided to search for Scottish desserts with raspberries. Not an easy task, but what I found was very interesting and could not wait to make it. The dessert is called a Cranachan.
Cranachan (Scottish Gaelic: Crannachan pronounced [ˈkʰɾan̪ˠəxan]) is a traditional Scottish dessert. In modern times it is usually made from a mixture of whipped cream, whisky, honey and fresh raspberries, with toasted oatmeal soaked overnight in a little bit of whisky.
A traditional way to serve cranachan is to bring dishes of each ingredient to the table so that each person can assemble their dessert to taste. Tall dessert glasses are also of typical presentation.
It was originally a summer dish and often consumed around harvest time but is now more likely to be served all year round and on special occasions. Courtesy Wikipedia
What a great looking dish inspired by The Open and thanks to my wonderful neighbor Lindsey dropping off the gift of fresh picked raspberries. When someone gives me fresh fruits and vegetables I always give back by making them a dish using what they gave me. This dish did not use many of her raspberries so I will be making another dish to share with her family.
This dish reminds me of a parfait. It is very filling, wonderful taste and easy to make. So if your are up early this weekend make sure you catch a little of The Open and have this great dessert for breakfast. No need to worry its afternoon in Scotland.
Toast oatmeal in pan over medium heat stirring often until it smells rich and nutty. It will not darken quickly, so use your sense of smell to tell you when it is nutty enough. Cool the oatmeal. When cool stir in 1 tablespoon whisky and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Cover and chill for at least 4-5 hours or overnight.
Using 1/2 cup raspberries make a purée by crushing half the fruit and sieving. Sweeten this to taste with a little sugar.
Whisk the heavy cream until just set. Stir in the honey, whisky and vanilla, trying not to over-whip the cream. Taste the mix and add more of either if you feel the need.
Stir in the oatmeal and whisk lightly until the mixture is just firm. Alternate layers of the cream with the remaining whole raspberries and purée in 4 serving dishes.
Allow to chill slightly before eating.
Original recipe calls for medium or steel-cut oats. I used regular oats.
Original recipe does not tell you to soak the oats but I my research says they need to be soaked
Original recipe call for Double Cream. I used heavy cream (easier to find in the US) Double cream has a slighlty higher milk fat content.
I added vanilla to the whiskey to tone down the strong flavor. Turned out great.
Today, July 11th, is National Blueberry Muffin Day. Okay, so this is not a blueberry muffin, it is something better. And I mean way better! My skillet bread uses a simple batter that could be used for muffins, but why when you can make skillet bread. The cast iron skillet allows the bread to cook evenly and gives a nice crust to the outsides of the bread.
The sour cream and lemon juice add a nice tang to the sweet and tartness of the blueberries. You will want to definitely make this for breakfast tomorrow. I should have made two because my first bread was gone in a couple of hours. I had to hide a piece for my wife to have when she got home. Darn kids wouldn’t stop eating it. :))
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So yesterday I spent the day demolishing my deck for the new one I am starting to build in a few weeks. It was supposed to rain by noon, so my plan was to work outside until the rain started then move inside for work on the blog. Well the rain didn’t start until after 6:00 pm. So I kept working on the deck until 5:30. No blog work, but I still needed to make dinner.
Sunday I had taken some chicken out of the freezer to use this week. I also had cauliflower, mushrooms and fresh corn, that were needing to be cooked, before they found their way to the trash bin. What I came up with was this fairly healthy simple chicken casserole. This is a quick and easy recipe which allows you to substitute whatever items you have in the fridge that are on their last legs.
Makes great leftovers for lunch the next day. Trust me I just had it for lunch.
My kids loved this and didn’t even notice the smashed cauliflower for the bottom crust. Smashed cauliflower adds a nutritious nice flavor to the dish.
So here is your last-minute treat to bring to the cookout. I know you are sitting there trying to think of something festive and creative; well this is the recipe you have been looking for. A quick, no bake, easy dessert, that looks great.
I came up with this recipe last night while looking at all of the very creative July 4th recipes on pinterest. I actually typed my idea into my phone around 12:30 this morning.
These truffles can be made the night before, just keep refrigerated.
July is National Grilling Month so I decided to pass on a few tips to keep your grill in tip top shape. Since this weekend is July 4th, many part time BBQ chefs will try to fire up their neglected grills. I suspect those grills are not in the best shape and need a little love. The performance of your grill can diminish over time if has not been maintained properly. Low temperatures, uneven heat, hot spots and food sticking to grates are all possible side effects of poor grill cleaning and maintenance.
Most of the year I use my grill at least two times a week. I try to keep my grill clean and ready to go. I give my Weber a thorough cleaning in the spring and fall and also follow these tips from Weber.com monthly. I also have provided 10 grilling hacks to help you become a grill master. So get out there, clean up your grill and cook up some great food this weekend.
Grill Cleaning and Maintenance Tips:
Wipe the outside of the grill lid with a paper towel and cleaner (glass cleaner for porcelain-coated lids and stainless steel cleaner for stainless steel lids). If your grill is stainless steel, you’ll get the best results by buffing with the grain, not against, using a microfiber towel.
Clean side tables with a microfiber towel and stainless steel cleaner. Again, make sure to buff with the grain. If your tables are made of theromset plastic, use a mild dish detergent and warm water instead.
Cleaning a cook box may seem tricky, but it’s actually extremely simple and can have a big impact on the way your grill performs. When your grill is completely cool, carefully remove your cooking grates and Flavorizer bars. Then, using a stainless steel grill brush, brush all excess grease and debris from inside the cook box into the bottom tray. From here, it will be easy to discard.
It’s a good practice to burn off any food residue left on your grill by turning all your burners to high for 15 minutes before grilling. When your grill reaches these high temperatures, food debris will turn to ash, and will then be easy to brush off using a stainless steel bristle brush. Courtesy of Weber.com
Use an onion to clean and oil grill grates. Place 1 tbsp of oil in small bowl. Cut onion in half and soak cut side in oil. Use fork to rub onion on grill grates. Cleans and oils the grates and adds a nice flavor.
Bring marinated meat to room temperatures and pat dry before grilling. Excess marinade on meat will cause it to steam and not grill, even at high temperatures. Baste with sauce if needed.
Place meat on a platter covered with plastic wrap before bringing to the grill. After placing meat on the grill, remove plastic wrap. You have a clean platter ready to serve cooked meats.
Bring all meats to room temperature before grilling.
Make sure your grill is hot before starting.
KEEP THE LID CLOSED as much as possible to retain heat and create even cooking.
Brush sauces containing sugar on the meat the last five minutes of cooking. Keeps the sauce from burning.
Cook all meats to proper temperature. Nothing ruins a party like under cooked meats.
Check gas level before starting to grill. Keep and extra tank on hand. I have my grill hooked up to my homes natural gas so I never run out.
Sear meat on high direct heat then finish cooking meat on indirect heat to ensure moist even cooking.
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I’m not sure what it is but I’ve had little desire to cook this week. Maybe it’s because my girls are at camp and I have been at baseball every night with my son. Last night I was home but my son was out and my wife spent the evening getting her hair done. Still nothing. Father’s Day was spent on the road dropping the kids off at camp so we just picked up some ribs from the local market. I threw them on the grill with a salad. That is the most cooking I’ve done all week.
If you are lucky enough to send your kids to a good summer camp, it is well worth it. Our kids have attended Springhill christian camps for years. They have a location in Seymour, IN and Evart, MI. It is your typical summer camp with horseback riding, lake activities, and zip lines. My summer camps never had zip lines! They have a blast, in a very loving environment. They get back in a couple of days so maybe I will get my enthusiasm back for cooking. We miss them very much, but happy they can have this time away to grow and learn.
A few weeks back I made one of my kids favorites. Wet Burritos. If you have never had wet burritos you and your family are in for a treat. I cooked this for the blog and made a double batch to freeze the second batch. They freeze great.. Since I am not cooking this week, I grabbed the second batch from the freezer for dinner. Always great to have extra meals frozen and ready to go..
Last month I introduced you to The Daring Kitchen and the Daring Baker challenge which I participated in. Last month the challenge was to make Lamingtons which is a kind of snack cake from Australia. So if you are still wondering what the heck is The Daring Kitchen/Bakers here is a little synopsis?
The Daring Kitchen is the home of The Daring Bakers and The Daring Cooks. The premise of both groups is to create one recipe each month, given to us by a monthly host. We all create the same exact recipe and then post about it on our personal blogs on a designated date.
This months challenge was to make a Charlotte. The challenge comes from Rebecca at BakeNQuilt.com. She has been a member of the Daring Bakers since 2011. She introduced all of Daring Bakers how to make a classic Charlotte Royale and Charlotte Russe! Here is how Rebecca describes the Charlotte.
There are many ways to cook rice. Steam, boil, saute or fry. In fact, WikiHow has a great article on 12 ways to cook rice. But one of my favorite ways to cook rice is to bake it. This might be a new technique to you, but it is a very simple way to cook rice with consistent results.
Do you need a recipe the kids can make dad for Father’s Day? This is an easy homemade blueberry muffin recipe that uses mascarpone cheese for extra creaminess. I also had mascarpone in the fridge and needed to use it; so why not make muffins. If you do not have mascarpone, you can also use cream cheese. (See below)
I first made these muffins for my daughters soccer team, a few weeks back.
On tournament weekends we usually bring breakfast for the kids and the parents. The girls took second place in the tournament. Maybe my mini muffins slowed them down.
Dad will love these muffins for his Fathers Day breakfast and kids will love the chance to show off their cooking skills.