Summertime and the living is easy (I hope you imagined me singing to you)…..sigh
I can always tell when summer has really set in for me, because I have no clue what day it is, of course if I really think about it, I can usually get within a day or two, but when you wake up every morning with no place you have to go or anything you have to do, time has a way of just slipping by……..I could get use to this!
But the old chef still has a few more years to go before retirement. Right now the plan is for Lisa to take her early retirement in two years, but it looks like I’ll have to stick it out one more year past that before I can actually retire. I use to think I’d work until I couldn’t anymore, but the more I think about it, I can’t think of too many reasons to keep working if I don’t have to! Of course I’m sure I’ll find something to occupy my time, I know my blog would certainly appreciate some more attention, Lord knows I do neglect it sometimes, and with my online classes starting to pick up, I’m sure I’ll keep busy enough! Of course I keep telling Lisa that I can always blog form Paris or Rome…sigh, wouldn’t that be nice.
So with time just slip sliding away from me, what could be better than Guest Post Friday, my favorite day of the week! It’s the day that I get to introduce a new blogger to all of my friends and readers! Today my friends if you don’t know her already, it’s my great pleasure to introduce to you Kim better know as Kimby from a little lunch.
When I first met Kim a few months ago, I felt an immediate connection with her, sort of kindred spirits you might say. Kim’s love of good food, good music, and her beautiful imagery are hard to miss, but it’s that peaceful easy feeling you get after visiting with her at a little lunch, that will keep you coming back for more, time and time again!
Hi! My name is Kim (aka Kimby) from a little lunch and I’m tickled to be here with Chef Dennis. His hospitality extends far beyond the kitchen and his willingness to “share what he knows” has helped me countless times. Many thanks, Chef Dennis!
I love to cook (among other things) and I enjoy reading food blogs – that’s what prompted me to start my own! But as I discovered, there’s more than just food on everybody’s plates. I don’t think there’s a single “foodie” whose only interest is food.
Recently, I learned that Chef Dennis and I have music in common, too, which inspired me to have a little ”jam session” today. ☺ But first, a trucking story…
Have you ever started out feeling afraid, but ended up having fun? That’s how I felt when I learned to drive a semi. Eventually fright turned to familiarity – enough to be comfortable with driving all over the U.S. with my hubby, The Man of Few Words. (Yes, I did most of the talking …) I also drove “solo.”
Hurricane Rita rattled my rig all the way to Brownsville, but authentic Mexican food at the end of the day made up for it. I’ve inched my way down a West Virginia mountain range in dense fog (nothing a platter of biscuits and gravy or fried green tomatoes couldn’t fix), battled a blizzard in North Dakota (wild rice-blueberry pancakes, anyone?) and navigated California’s notorious “Grapevine” before heading to Washington State wine country, where an unexpected layover turned into a mini-vacation. (Don’t ya just love surprises?!)
Music has been a “driving” force in my life, too – longer than anything else – and it’s taken me to places I never imagined.
Once, I had the honor of sharing a stage with Manfredo Fest, who pointed to me during a rehearsal and said, “A bass guitar is the most important instrument in a band.” (I’m sure Chef Dennis would agree!) I was nervous, but it turned out to be the best concert of my life.
Then I had the privilege of playing piano for a group of students who were auditioning for the producers of DreamWorks Studios. (No pressure there!) The event was hosted at a gorgeous home in the Hollywood Hills, and let me tell you, the hors d’oeuvres were superb.
These days I hang out in Oklahoma where I’m a writer, composer, and church pianist. I also jam regularly with some good ol’ boys who played for Patsy Cline, Roy Rogers, Reba, and the like. We have a blast! (Thus concludes my fifteen minutes of fame …)
Note: My intention here isn’t “name-dropping” – these adventures really happened to me! What I’m trying to say is: Don’t let fear keep you from jammin’…on stage, in traffic, or in your kitchen. You never know where you might end up! Which brings me to today’s dessert, made with homemade vanilla pudding (in honor of Dairy Month), a duet of fresh berries, and a jazzed-up sauce that’ll shift your sense of adventure into high gear.
- ⅔ cup (130 gm) sugar
- 2 Tbsp. (15 gm) flour
- 2 Tbsp. (15 gm) cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups (475 ml) milk (I used whole milk)
- 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten (reserve whites for another use)
- 2 Tbsp.(30 gm) butter
- 1½ tsp. (8 ml) pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (60 ml)seedless strawberry jam
- ¼ cup (60 ml) seedless blackberry jam
- ¼ cup (60 ml) Cabernet Sauvignon or other dry red wine
- ½ tsp. (2 ml) freshly ground black pepper (not a typo!)
- ⅛ tsp. (.5 ml) dried red pepper flakes (ditto!)
- 1 cup (150 gm) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 cup fresh (150 gm) blackberries, rinsed and patted dry
- Additional strawberries and blackberries for garnish
- In a large heavy saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt.
- Gradually whisk in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. (Reduce heat to medium-low if mixture begins to stick, to avoid scorching.) Approximate cooking time is 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Stir a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the beaten yolks to temper them so they won't "scramble." Then, whisk the yolks into the hot milk mixture until combined.
- Return pan to heat; cook 1 minute longer. (Mixture will bubble almost immediately – keep stirring!)
- Remove from heat again – don't forget to turn off the burner! – and stir in butter and vanilla until blended.
- Transfer pudding to a bowl; cover with plastic wrap. (Press the wrap directly onto the pudding to keep a "skin" from forming.) Cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
- In a small saucepan, melt the strawberry and blackberry jam; stir until smooth.
- Whisk in the wine; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 minutes, or until sauce reduces to approximately ½ cup.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in the red and black pepper. (Don't be afraid!) Cool to room temperature.
- Divide fresh berries into four tulip or parfait glasses.
- Top with a generous dollop of vanilla pudding.
- Drizzle (liberally) with sauce and garnish with additional berries. Sweet harmony indeed!
Thanks again for having me here, Chef Dennis!
Enjoying life’s adventures,
Wow, now that was one tasty dessert, or even breakfast, thanks Kim! Now before you forget, head on over to a little lunch and say hi to Kim, just remember to tell her Chef Dennis sent you! Make sure to give yourself some time to look around, you’re going to love what you see!
I really do love sharing creations by friends that I’ve made through blogging, it’s so much fun seeing how they interpret and create individual dishes, and of course hearing their stories! We’re all individuals with one common bond Food, the tie that binds us together so well, as we traverse this amazing blogosphere. Who know’s where this journey will take us, but one thing for certain is, we know we’re not taking it alone.
Have a great weekend my friends, stay cool, stay full and as Kim say’s Enjoy Life’s Adventures!