Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heirloom Tomatoes

This is the last tomatoes of the season. Sad to see them go but it is too hot in the garden here in Phoenix even with the shade screen. I picked some that were facing the west sun and they smelled like stewed tomatoes when I sliced them. Talk about cooking on the vine.

They are so tasty using Camelback Inn's recipe for Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes although we substituted dark balsamic vinegar of Modena for the white balsamic vinegar thus the deeper colors.

Basil grows wonderfully in Phoenix in the summer so we use fresh, whole leaves.

Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes in White Balsamic Vinaigrette found on page 67 Tastes & Treasures

1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
5 heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges

Mix the vinegar and brown sugar in a bowl. let stand until the brown sugar is completely dissolved. Whisk in the olive oil, garlic, shallots and basil. Season with Kosher salt and papper. Add the tomato wedges and toss gently to coat. Chill for 4 hours before serving. Serve using a slotted spoon.
Serves 6.
Note: We made it a hearty salad with sliced cheese.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Rock Springs Cafe pies

Dinner parties call for special desserts and Kay Holcombe brought the best "Very Berry" pie from Rock Springs Cafe. They are famous for their pies and we all agreed it is worth the drive. Especially to bring one home and freeze it for a special occasion.

No recipe to share with you here but the choices at Rock Springs Cafe are plentiful. They also continue to sell and reorder Tastes & Treasures cookbooks. Owner Richard Shaw has been a supporter of the Arizona Historical Society and the Historical League for many years. Thank you Richard.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fresh Summer Salad

Experimenting with salad is wonderful in the summer. Starting with romaine and mixed spring greens I added red and yellow sweet peppers, green onion, baby pear tomatoes (from my garden), celery, a peach, strawberries, avocado and sliced toasted almonds. League member Kay Holcombe and I are ready to share the feast.

Topped it off with a delightful Peach Pecan Dressing from Schnepf Farm. It was so good, next time I am putting the Peach Pecan Dressing on my toast. Schnepf Farms also carries Tastes & Treasures cookbook so east Valley folks can buy it there.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Embellishing Pizza

Being creative with a basic pizza can be fun. Grandnieces Amelia (11 years) and Sydney (14 years) from Winnipeg visited us on Lake Minnetonka. They are veggie eaters and loved adding toppings to the pizza. . . fresh red and yellow peppers, tomato from the garden, purple onion, mushrooms and lots of mozzarella. It was almost too heavy to lift into the oven.We enjoyed the delicious dinner on the pontoon boat since that is the only dining room area large enough for 7 people. Lake living has it's perks.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quinoa, Tomato and Mint Salad

Historymaker Eddie Basha gave us his family recipe for Tabouli Salad with cracked wheat, parsley and mint. It is a Lebanese dish with lots of flavor found on page 130 of Tastes & Treasures. Here is another version using quinoa.

Quinoa, Tomato and Mint Salad
For best flavor, allow quinoa to cool to room temperature before combining into salad.
1 c Quinoa
1 1/2 c Water
pinch Sea Salt
1 t Rice Wine Vinegar
1 t Balsamic Vinegar
2 T Olive Oil or Grape Seed Oil
1 lrg Shallot (2 T), sliced or minced
1/2 t Soy Sauce
1 T fresh Lemon Juice
Zest from 1/2 Lemon, finely grated
1/2 t Sea Salt

1/2 lb Tomatoes, 1/2″ dice
Handful fresh mint, chopped
a few small mint leaves reserved for garnish

1. Prepare Quinoa. Rinse and soak quinoa for 10 minutes. Strain and combine with 1 1/2 c water and sea salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover pan with a lid, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for @ 15 min., stirring once. Remove from heat, fluff, and set aside to cool.
2. Prepare Dressing. Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk with a fork to combine. (For best lemon flavor, grate lemon zest directly over bowl so the lemon oil which releases when zesting will land in bowl.)
3. When quinoa is cool, combine quinoa, tomatoes, mint, and dressing in a bowl and toss well. Place on serving dish and garnish with remaining small mint leaves.

Serves 4

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cornish Pasties

Rose Mofford grew up enjoying them and now there is a small, local restaurant near ASU serving a large variety of Cornish Pasties. The walls are covered with historic photos of miners. Great history and food. My friend, Carol Vie, and I enjoyed them with a light Belgium beer.

Try making them at home using Rose Mofford's family recipe or get creative with additional ingredients.

Cornish Pasties page 133 Tastes & Treasures

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening
1 cup beef suet, finely chopped
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

Filling and Assembly
2 pounds round steak or other lean beef, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 or 3 potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 or 3 small onions, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

For the pastry, mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the suet and toss with a fork until combined. Add just enough of the ice water to make the dough adhere and mix well. Knead lightly and shape the pastry into a ball. Chill, covered , for 1 hour.

For the filling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the steak, potatoes, onions, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pat the pastry on a lightly floured surface into ¼ inch thick rounds 8 or 9 inches in diameter. Press on the pastry to flatten pieces of the suet. Spoon ¼ to ½ cup of the filling onto half of each dough round and dot with butter. Moisten the edge with water and fold over to enclose the filling. Press the edge with your fingers or a fork to seal. Arrange the pasties on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.
Makes 8 pasties

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Outrageous Cookbook prices

It is amazing to me the different prices of Tastes & Treasures cookbook online. Normal retail is $24.95 but it is going for $58.45 at this site.
Also saw it used on Amazon for under $20.

Arizona's Cooking Heritage, the Historical League first cookbook, has also been featured online for $70. It is now out of print and definitely a collectors item. Must be those gila monsters on the cover.

Seafood at Dukes

Seafood Towers are a popular item in restaurants. This one at Duke's in San Diego was loaded with shrimp, cilantro, and salad fixings. A tasty and impressive appetizer.

We also ordered the Mahi Mahi dinner - so flavorful with fresh vegetables, rice and topped with an orchid. Very Hawaiian. Loved the views of the harbor from Dukes.

The Cottage Place Restaurant in Flagstaff gave us their Seafood Tower recipe with shrimp, scallops and avocados. It is one worth making.

Seafood Tower
, page 18 Tastes & Treasures
1 cup water
¼ cup Cilantro Lime vinaigrette (page 21)
1 teaspoon salt
4 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 scallops, cleaned
¼ cup Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette (page 21)
Tomato Caper Relish (page 20)
Horseradish Cream Sauce (page 20)
Bottled cocktail sauce
Avocado fans
Cilantro Lime vinaigrette (page 21)

Bring the water, ¼ cup vinaigrette and the salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the shrimp and scallops and reduce the heat to 170 degrees. Poach the shrimp and scallops for 5 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink. Remove from the heat. Add ice to the mixture to stop the cooking process and let stand for 4 minutes. Drain the shrimp and scallops and place in a large bowl. Add ¼ cup vinaigrette and toss to coat. Chill in the refrigerator.
Cut each scallop into three thin circles. Place two plastic tubes 2 inches in diameter and 3 inches tall on a place. Fill each tube half full with the relish and compact with a spoon handle. Arrange three scallop slices on the relish in each tube. Slide the tip of a metal spatula under each tube and place each on a chilled serving plate. Make a pool of the horseradish cream sauce around the tube. Drag a wooden pick through cocktail sauce and make a design in the horseradish cream sauce. Arrange the poached shrimp and avocado fans in the sauce. Drizzle some of the remaining vinaigrette around the edge of each plate. Remove the plastic tube by pressing down on the scallops with a spoon handle, while lifting each tube.
Serves 2

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Arizona Story - a 4th grade textbook

Are you smarter than a 4th grader ? Kyle McKoy told us her joys and frustrations as she embarked on the journey of writing a 4th grade History book at a Historical League meeting. The Arizona Historical Society staff, under the direction of Kyle, completed " The Arizona Story " in 2009. The textbook has received the 2009 Award of Merit for Educational Programming Excellence from The American Association for State and Local History. It has also received extraordinary acceptance from school districts across Arizona. Award winning author Jana Bommersbach wrote a Centennial article for the AZ Republic and applauded this textbook. We are very proud of Kyle and her staff.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bogle Vineyard Wine Tasting

A trip to Sacramento is a perfect reason to visit wineries and there are so many choices. Bogle is nearby with lovely picnic areas under sunny skies. We stopped at a local deli and brought our own picnic supplies. Nothing like interesting and exotic cheeses and crackers with wines. Humboldt Fog cheese is great spread on apples too.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chocolate Icebox Cake from Magnolia Bakery

In 1924 The National Biscuit Company (today's Nabisco) introduced their Famous Chocolate Wafers. The chocolate wafers were similar in taste to an unfilled Oreo but lighter, thinner and crisper. A cake recipe developed in the 1930's called for stacking them, separating with a layer of sweetened whipped cream. They soften overnight. The hard part of this recipe is finding the chocolate wafers in your local grocery store but they can be ordered on Amazon. The presentation is very impressive.

Chocolate Icebox Cake/Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

3 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 (9-ounce) packages chocolate wafer cookies
Unsweetened cocoa (or chocolate shavings)

In a large bowl, beat cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.
On a flat serving plate, arrange 7 cookies side by side in a circle, keeping 1 cookie in the center.
Spread with 1/2 cup whipped cream, making a 7-inch circle. Repeat with remaining cookies and cream, making 11 layers of cookies and ending with a layer of cream (there will be a few cookies left over). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, dust top lightly with cocoa powder, chocolate shavings or crumbled chocolate wafers.

* Servings: 8

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mint Chocolate Icebox Cake

Chocolate Mint Icebox Cake
1 3/4 c. heavy cream
3/4 tsp mint extract
1/4 c. sugar
1 (9 oz.) pkg. chocolate wafers
1/3 c. mini chocolate chips

Adapted from Everyday Food by Martha Stewart
The wafers soak up that cream and this easy-to-make cake becomes soft and delicious. Beautiful presentation.

Beat the heavy cream, extract & sugar until stiff peaks form.
Spread about 1 teaspoon of cream on each wafer and form stacks on a plate.
Line a serving platter with two side-by-side sheets of wax paper. Lay the stacks horizontally along the seam, pressing gently to form a log.
With an spatula, cover the log with the remaining cream. Refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.
Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and fresh mint sprig.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Grilled Corn Salad

Grilling vegetables with spices adds so much flavor to the dish. We had fresh corn, tomatoes, onion, zucchini, red bell pepper, fresh parsley, fresh rosemary and fresh basil. Marinating in cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar or lime juice pulls everything together.

Want to really impress guests? Serve the vegetables as an appetizer with these tasty corn cups. The Historical League featured these at the Sandra Day O'Connor Open House held at the AHS Museum.


6 T butter, at room temperature
2 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup yellow corn meal
1 cup flour
Pinch salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream butter and cream cheese.
3. Sift the corn meal, flour and salt together in a separate bowl.
4. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until incorporated.
5. Place on a clean counter an gently knead a few times and divide into 1-inch balls. The dough can be rolled and cut into rounds.
6. Press the ball or rounds into a mini muffin mold, pressing down in the center to fill the mold and form a cup.
7. Bake until light brown and cooked through, 15-20 minutes.
8. Remove from the oven and molds to finish cooling on a rack.

Makes about 30 cups

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shrimp Salad

Bonnie Newhoff is one of the best cooks in the League. She uses fresh ingredients from her garden when she can and isn't afraid to experiment with recipes. This salad was a welcome addition at one of our meetings.

Green Salad with Shrimp page 174 Tastes & Treasures

2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons white vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 or 3 avocados, sliced
2 pounds small shrimp, cooked and peeled
1 bunch spinach, trimmed
1 head romaine, trimmed and leaves separated
1 head iceberg lettuce, trimmed and leaves separated
1 pound bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

Combine the oil, cottage cheese, onion, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, peppercorns and cayenne pepper in a blender or food processor and process until mixed. Combine the cottage cheese mixture, avocados and shrimp in a bowl and mix gently. Chill, covered, for 8 to 10 hours. Rinse the spinach, romaine and iceberg lettuce and wrap in damp clean kitchen towels. Chill for 8 to 10 hours.

Tear the greens into bite-size pieces. Combine the greens and the shrimp mixture in a salad bowl and mix gently. Sprinkle with the bacon and serve immediately.

Serves 8 to 10

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wrigley Mansion hosts Mixer

Phoenix Convention Center sponsors 'Mixers' to network with groups promoting the area. The Historical League represents the Museum at these events as well as promotes the Historymakers Gala and Tastes & Treasures cookbook. The Wrigley Mansion is a perfect venue and we enjoyed the panoramic views, the interesting guests and the wonderful food. I only look like I am playing the piano with PR chair Tobe Daum and President Pat Faur.

The Shrimp Panna Cotta that Pat is holding is an unique mix of grilled shrimp over a pudding type base in a lovely presentation.

Panna cotta
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 1/4 cups plain goat's-milk or whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar


For panna cotta:
Pour 2 tablespoons water into small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand until softened, about 15 minutes. Whisk 1 cup cream, yogurt, and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Heat remaining 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup sugar in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and cream comes to simmer. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mixture, stirring to dissolve gelatin. Mix hot cream-gelatin mixture into yogurt mixture in bowl. Divide mixture among six 3/4-cup ramekins, using about 1/2 cup for each. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Celebrate 4th of July with Chocolate Icebox Cake

A Thank You to those men and women who serve in our armed forces as we celebrate Independence Day.

Frozen desserts are very popular ones for a hot 4th in Phoenix. They are cool to eat and you don't heat up the house turning on the oven. Try this recipe from El Chorro Lodge. As an historic venue for the valley, we are happy to report that El Chorro is spruced up and looking wonderful after it's remodeling with new owners.

Chocolate Icebox Cake pg 80 Tastes & Treasures cookbook
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 ¾ pounds semisweet chocolate
7 cups heavy whipping cream
2 ounces (1/2 cup) confectioners’ sugar
7 egg whites
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 ½ tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup hot water
1 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Process the graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and the butter in a food processor until combined. Press over the bottom of a 9 X 13-inch baking pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven to cool.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water and keep warm. Whip the cream with the confectioners’ sugar and the cream of tartar in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold in the melted chocolate. Add half the whipped cream mixture and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Dissolve the gelatin in the hot water. Add to the remaining whipped cream mixture. Fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the cooled crust and sprinkle with the walnuts. Freeze, uncovered, for 8 to 10 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to serve.
Serves 15
Note: Avoid turning on the oven by buying a pre-made graham cracker crust.
We have made it into an Icebox Pie in the past but this time decided to make it into cupcakes, omit the walnuts and top with blueberries and fruit for a 4th of July tribute.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Mixer at AZ Biltmore Hotel

Kay Holcombe and I attended a mixer sponsored by the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce at the Arizona Biltmore. These events help us network and promote the cookbook. Among many others, we met Bruce Leadbetter with 360 Adventures. He likes our book and hopes to partner with us for future tours of Arizona and the Historical League featuring great adventures and great food.

It was fun to sample wonderful appetizers from the new restaurant, Charlie and Alberts. Smoked Tomato Bisque was elegantly served in tall shot glasses. Kay sampled it but we agreed that it was too smokey for our tastes.

We both loved the flatbread appetizers served in wedges on mini square plates. It had a delicate cranberry sauce and feta cheese on the bottom topped with watercress and mandarin oranges in a mild dressing. Would love to recreate these. Anyone got a recipe?
I enjoyed the 'made to order' Caesar Salad by the roaring fire. Notice the beautiful sunset in the background. Now . . . this is the way to unwind after a long day.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Membership Brochure

Updating a brochure can be tedious but not with Linda Cathey as chair, assisted by Zona Lorig, Pat Faur and myself. Dr Peter Welsh joined us for comments on docent training at the Museum. League members emailed ideas to Linda prior to the meeting. We are looking forward to Arizona colors, photos and a great new look.