Juniper Pickled Beets and BBQ Meatloaf for Cruise Night 2013

Recipes in this PostPickeled Beets with Juniper Berries

Every year, Glendale, California closes off its main street, the Brand Boulevard of Cars. Beautifully kept antique cars park up and down the street, some with their hoods up, so everyone can enjoy them. Spane and I have been going to Cruise Night since before he was born – I say that because I even went when I was pregnant with him. As usual I like to cook something special for Cruise Night dinner, mainly because even though there are hamburgers and hot dogs available, I would rather have my own fresh food, and save money for a treat for Spane.

I love beets, I mean I really, really love beets. So does Spane. We like them plain, pickled, cold, hot, red beets, orange beets, any beets! Beets are very good for you, and studies have shown it can prevent liver, heart and muscle diseases. This is not the same thing as a Sugar Beet, which although is in the same family, almost all sugar beets are genetically modified, and used to make sugar.

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Independence Day No Bake Cake

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States;

The Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

Recipes in this PostIndependence Day No-Bake Cake

Last year, I made a big to-do about 4th of July, barbecued London Broil with Rosemary and Mushrooms, and I made a Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle with Lemon Cream. They were both very good, but this year, with the move, and the hot weather, not so much.

This morning, when I was out looking for what to make for dinner, I was at the local Armenian store and came across Wafel torte, my favorite start to making a no-bake cake. Not only was it no-bake, it was rectangular and there were boxes of strawberries and blueberries on the counter. I was excited to be making a cake for the 4th after all.

I put condensed milk and Nutella in the layers of the cake, made a sour cream buttercream to top it, and Spane helped me decorate it. He also helped take the pictures, and contributed his necklace that hums the Star Spangled Banner – it’s very annoying.

Spane wearing his "singing" necklace

Spane wearing his “singing” necklace


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Grilled Asian Orange Cornish Hens with Asian Vegetable Medley Salad

Recipes in this PostGrilled Asian Orange Chicken with Asian Vegetable Salad

It was almost Labor Day, and in Southern California, you know that it is going to be hot through the holiday. Such days are excellent for barbecuing, but I get tired of regular barbecue sauce, and I didn’t feel like having Highway Chicken either. What to do, what to do?

I remembered I had some packets of True Orange that I hadn’t even tried yet, so I thought I would make an Asian orange glaze for the chicken. Then I thought that Asian green beans would be good – but it was too darned hot – so went to the freezer to see if we had any green beans. No luck, but we did have a package of frozen Asian mixed vegetables. Asian Vegetable Medley salad was the way to go.

If you haven’t tried the True Citrus products, you’re missing something wonderful. There is True Lemon, True Lime and True Grapefruit, as well as lemonade. The product comes in little packets, and has no preservatives, just crystallized citrus. It’s wonderful for making sauces because there is no extra liquid. All are wonderful in water, or mixed to make drinks. I have plenty of recipes, just have a look.
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Lemon Margarita Bavarian Creams

Recipes in this PostLemon Margarita Bavarian Creams

Did you know that July 24th is National Tequila Day? I’ve been looking at pictures of Margarita all day long. I’ve also been bemoaning the fact that I can’t find Agave wine anymore. Agave wine is made from the agave plant, from which tequila is also made. Since the wine is fermented, it does not have the same kick as tequila, which is distilled. But, it does have virtually the same taste, but doesn’t make you feel like you’re plastered after only one drink.

A Bavarian cream is a classic French dessert, similar to pastry cream, but is thickened with gelatin instead of flour. Usually, it is served in a mold, and decorated with Crème Chantilly. So, there you have the inspiration for my Lemon Margarita Bavarian Creams.

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Fresh Raspberry Blueberry Cream Tart

Recipes in this PostFresh Raspberry Blueberry Cream Tart

There was a wonderful tip from America’s Test Kitchen that I’ve been doing for quite a while, only not as efficiently. To protect iced cakes from plastic wrap, I’ve been sticking the top with toothpicks. America’s Test Kitchen uses spaghetti noodles – they’re more plentiful, and easy to break for whatever length you want.
So, when I decided to make my pie today, and didn’t want it getting over burdened with plastic wrap, I took linguine noodles, stuck them in, covered my pie, and stuck it in the refrigerator. Now it won’t pick up any bad smells, or have any of it come off with the plastic wrap. There’s a bunch of other transport tricks at America’s Test Kitchen.

Spane liked the Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle so much that he asked me if I could make it again. There were fresh raspberries and blueberries on sale at the market, but I didn’t want another trifle, I wanted a tart.

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Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle with Lemon Cream for 4th of July

Recipes in this Post
Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle with Lemon Cream

Finished Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle with Lemon Cream

When thinking about making this Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle with Lemon Cream, it reminded me of something that happened many years ago. I was asked to bring something to a 4th of July potluck. I was making a yellow cake and using strawberries and blueberries for filling, with a whipped cream topping. As I was taking the cake out of the pan, my cat Lazer startled me, and I dropped the cake on the counter. I went into bunch of little pieces. Well, I had a trifle bowl, so I scooped everything up, put in the bowl with the cream and fruit, presented it as Oops 4th of July Trifle, and called it a day.

This year, I wanted something along the same lines, but a little more fun. Strawberries and balsamic vinegar are perfect together. Strawberries and Mascarpone are even better together, but I didn’t want anything that thick. So I developed a wonderful lemon cream.

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