Married 42 years, and believe very strongly that God did not put us on this earth just for our own happiness and fulfillment . . . in the words of Pastor Rick Warren: "It's not about you!" We have been blessed in many areas: business; property management, business management, a fabulous marriage, the gift of hospitality . . .entertaining, cooking and making people feel comfortable. We have also been blesssed with creativity; photography, writing and teaching. We Love "Sharing our Stuff" which is sharing our life lessons in the areas of our giftedness with others to help them better navigate life! We owned and Operated lone of the largest Residential Property Management Companies in Orange County, California and love "Sharing our Property Management Stuff" through Books, e-books, Seminars, Webinars and our blogs!
Posted in Cooking and Baking on April 4, 2012
What a recipe! These are fantastic little cupcakes! They are perfect just to have out on a plate for friends arriving or save them for dinner. I was researching recipes for an event I was cooking for and when I saw the bizarre ingredients of these . . . I was done . . . I had to try them! I was VERY pleasantly surprized! There are actually two cupcake recipes I want to share with you. The other is a Ganache-Filled Guinness Chocolate Cupcake with Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting . . . that’s quite a mouthful . . . as it will be once you taste either of these treats. I will post the recipe for the Ganache-Filled Guinness cupcakes next time. Are you ready? Get your rosemary and potatoes out and ready!
ROSEMARY POTATO CUPCAKES
PREP: 15 MINUTES
BAKING TIME: 20 MINUTES
OVEN TEMP: 350 DEGREES
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground dried rosemary
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
½ cup peeled and mashed potatoes (no butter or seasoning), room temperature
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup apple juice
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, rosemary, and baking soda.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, mashed potatoes, and eggs. Beat until smooth.
Mix the oil and apple juice into the potato mixture.
Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
Fill cupcake liners ¾ full.
Bake for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces Irish cheddar, grated
4 cups powdered sugar
Whip cream cheese, butter, and salt in a large mixing bowl on high speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
Mix in cheddar.
Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time until fully incorporated.
Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
Stay tuned for my next posting . . . the decadent sister to the Rosemary Potato Cupcake; the Ganache-Filled Guiness Chocolate Cupcake with Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting!
For more information about how you can attend one of our cooking classes at The Lark Inn Guesthouses in the picturesque Flint Hills of Kansas please VISIT MY WEBSITE. Don’t forget, you can put together a cooking weekend with your friends or other couples . . . stay in our totally awesome guesthouses and custom design your cooking classes to suit your own tastes. Chill out and cook . . . there are other things to life . . . though I’m not quite sure what they are!?
Thank you for reading . . . don’t for get to tune in next time for the decadent sister cupcakes!
Posted in Cooking and Baking on April 3, 2012
OK, this one is super easy (keeping with my theme) and a great appetizer. What could be more down to earth than ham and cheese?! Now, add to that; pesto and puff pastry and you will have a unique dish that will be the hit of any party!! Ready . . . let’s do this!
PREP: 10 MINUTES
BAKING TIME: 15 MINUTES
OVEN TEMP: 425 DEGREES
SERVES: 10 -12
1 SHEET PUFF PASTRY, THAWED
2 TABLESPOONS COMMERCIAL/HOMEMADE PESTO
6 THIN SLICES HONEY HAM
6 THIN SLICES SWISS CHEESE
1. Spread the pesto over the sheet of puff pastry dough, top with ham slices then cheese.
2. Start rolling the long side of the dough and continue until reaching the middle of the pastry sheet. Roll the opposite end in to meet the first roll.
3. Cut the roll into half-inch thick slices with a bread knife. Place the slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake at 425 degrees for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Once again, thank you for your continued support and for reading!
For information about our upcoming cooking classes or to customize you own private cooking class/party visit MY WEBSITE.
Posted in Cooking and Baking on March 29, 2012
This is an amazing and decadent dessert for any dinner party. Keeping with my theme of be an easy recipe to prepare I think you will enjoy making this and of course enjoying the fruits of your labor . . . eating it! We made it as the grand finale to our last cooking class and it was a huge hit. it meets you right at your taste buds with lots of powerful flavors including the yummy taste of gingerbread. They all meld together for a delectable dessert. Oh . . . besure you have a cup of coffee or better yet Irish Coffee! Let’s get started!
GINGERBREAD STOUT CAKE WITH CARAMEL-ALE SAUCE
PREP: 20 minutes
COOKING TIME: 25 MINUTES
BAKING TIME: 50 MINUTES FOR ONE BUNDT OR 25 MINTUES FOR MINI BUNDTS
SERVES – 12
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Caramel-Ale Sauce: 12 ounces Ale
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Generously grease and dust with flour (or use baking spray) a 10-inch (10- to 12-cup) bundt pan or 8 mini bundt pans. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
- Pour batter into bundt pan (or divide evenly among mini pans) and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles.
- Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes (about 25 minutes for the minis). Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.
- Pour the ale into a medium saucepan and bring to a low boil.
- Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced by two-thirds.
- Add the butter and brown sugar and cook, stirring only when the mixture is in danger of boiling over, until thick and syrupy, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Slowly stir in the cream (it will splatter up!). Cook another 5 or 6 minutes, until thickened.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool to warm, it will thicken up more as it cools.
- Pour over stout cake and add ice cream if desired.
- ENJOY with a nice cup of coffee or Irish Coffee!
Thank you for reading. It is my sicerest hope and prayer that you enjoy preparing and of course eating these recipes. But my greatest hope is that you will lose any fear you may have for cooking and that you will develop of love for it! I will keep doing my part!
For information about upcoming cooking classes or designing your own customized cooking class/gathering/party please visit my website.
Posted in Cooking and Baking on March 23, 2012
I am a big lover of Reuben sandwiches . . . the toasted rye bread . . . the corned beef . . . Swiss cheese . . . sauerkraut . . . it just doesn’t get much better! Except it just did get better! For our last Cooking Class at The Lark Inn, we again invited guest Chef Gary Martin to join us . . . and join us he did! In addition to his lovely wife Linda, Gary brought his fabulous recipe for Cream of Reuben Soup! Everyone had a great time watching Gary with his preparations and of course the best part . . . enjoying his creation!! This is truly like a Reuben sandwich in soup form. It is so full of flavor and it is not nearly as rich as I had first imagined. It is the perfect blending of flavors, and texture . . . you are going to love it!
Let’s make Chef Gary’s Reuben Soup!
CREAM OF REUBEN SOUP
PREP: 10 MINUTES
COOKING TIME: 30 + 20 MINUTES
SERVES – 6
6 CUPS CHICKEN BROTH
1 POUND CORN BEEF BRISKET – CHOPPED
8 OUNCES SOUR KRAUT – DRAINED
2 LARGE ONION – CHOPPED
3 CLOVES GARLIC – MINCED
½ TEASPOON THYME – DRIED
¼ TEASPOON WHITE PEPPER
¼ TEASPOON TARRAGON – DRIED
1 BAY LEAF
3 TABLESPPONS CORNSTARCH
½ CUP WATER
1 POUND SWISS CHEESE PROCESSED – CHOPPED
1 CUP NATURAL SWISS CHEESE – SHREDDED
1 CUP WHIPPING CREAM
RYE BREAD FOR CROUTONS
1. In a large Dutch oven, sauté onion and carrot until soft. Add garlic, white pepper, tarragon, thyme, bay leaf and chicken broth, bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Stir together cornstarch and water and stir into soup. Return to boiling and simmer until thickened.
3. Add whipping cream and continue simmering about 20 minutes.
4. Reduce Heat. Stir in cheese until melted. Add corned beef.
5. Serve in bowls topped with croutons.
Now . . . ENJOY!!
As always, thank you for reading!
For information about previous and future Cooking Classes at The Lark Inn please visit our website at: TheLarkInn.com.
Also, ask about our new Cooking get-a-way package at The Lark In Guesthouses. What could be more fun than getting away to the fabulous Flint Hills and . . . having a cooking class of your own design. You custom select the menu from our many previous ones on our website or mix and match . . . we do the rest! CLICK HERE to let us know what kind of a cooking class you would like!
Posted in Cooking and Baking on March 22, 2012
Irish Soda Bread has been a long-time favorite of our family. I think I have been making it for . . . we’ll not go there! Anyway, this bread was especially fitting for our St. Patty’s Day themed cooking class but . . . it’s good any time! Just remove the word “Irish” from it’s name and you have “Soda Bread”! I’m only kidding! Actually this bread stands on it’s own . . . regardless of it’s nationality! Let’s do this!
IRISH SODA BREAD
PREP: 15 MINUTES
BAKING TIME: 60–65 MINUTES
OVEN TEMP: 350 DEGREES
4 CUPS FLOUR + 1 TABLESPOON FOR DUSTING
½ CUP SUGAR
2 TEASPOONS BAKING POWDER
1 TEASPOON SODA
¾ TEASPOON SALT
3 CUPS RAISINS
1 TABLESPOON CARAWAY SEEDS (OPTIONAL)
2 EGGS, LIGHTLY BEATEN
1 ¼ CUPS BUTTERMILK
1 CUP SOUR CREAM
1. Heat oven to 350 degree. Grease a 9 inch cast-iron skillet or baking pan
3. Knead dough in bowl, about 10 strokes; dough will be very sticky! Shape into a ball; place in skillet. Cut a 4-inch “X” ¾-inch deep, across top of dough. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon flour.
4. Bake in 350 Degree oven for 60-65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center tests clean. Cool in skillet 10 minutes. Turn bread out onto wire rack to cool completely.
Thank you for reading! It really means a lot to be able to bring new ideas to so many!
For additional information about designing your own custom cooking class party or to check out staying at one of The Lark Inn Guesthouses, please VISIT OUR WEBSITE
Posted in Cooking and Baking on March 21, 2012
By now you are probably detecting a theme in my favorite salads and that is that they generally contain fruit of some sort, nuts and cheese. I think the reason is that these types of salads will go with just about anything. They are light enough to be refreshing in hot weather, but with the nuts and cheese, they have plenty of protein and so will stay with you. We prepared the Irish Flag Salad at our March cooking class at The Lark Inn and everyone loved it! Another theme with my favorite salads . . . they are simple to make as is this one! Let’s make an Irish Flag Salad!
IRISH FLAG SALAD
PREP: 20 MINUTES
- 1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach
- 2 medium pears, thinly sliced
- 2 medium oranges, peeled and sectioned
- 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Divide spinach among four plates; top with pears, oranges, cheese & pistachios
**This salad features green spinach, orange fruit and white cheese, mimicking the colors in the national flag of Ireland.
Thank you for reading!
For more information about our scheduled cooking classes at The Lark Inn Guesthouses or scheduling your own custom Cooking Class Party check my website.
Posted in Cooking and Baking on March 20, 2012
These miniature Shepherd’s Pies are fantastic! they are so small and really very light. So much so that you might just assume that there are no calories . . . but there are a few! This recipe makes 4 dozen and when I did my test run with them I only made 1/2 of the recipe . . . 2 dozen. I only got to eat 3 of the 24 . . . the other 21 mysteriously vanished as in with my husband Pat!
We made these at my March cooking class and they were a great hit! their easy and fun to make and make for a super appetizer!
Let’s get started!
MINIATURE SHEPHERD’S PIES
PREP: 40 MINUTES
OVEN TEMP: 400 DEGREES
YIELD: 4 DOZEN
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped carrot
- 1-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2/3 cup beef broth
- 1/3 cup frozen petite peas
- 2 packages (17.3 ounces each) frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 3 cups mashed potatoes
- In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion, celery and carrot over medium heat until beef is no longer pink; drain.
- Stir in the flour, thyme, salt, nutmeg and pepper until blended; gradually add the broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Stir in peas; heat through. Set aside.
- Unfold puff pastry. Using a floured 1 ¼ inch round cutter, cut 12 circles from each sheet (save scraps for another use.) Press circles onto the bottoms and up the sides of ungreased miniature muffin cups.
- Fill each with 1 ½ teaspoons beef mixture; top or pipe with 1 tablespoon mashed potatoes. Bake at 400 degrees for 13 – 16 minutes or until heated through and potatoes are lightly browned. Serve warm. Yield 4 Dozen.
Thank you for reading!
For more information about upcoming cooking classes or accommodations in The Lark Inn Guesthouses, please visit our website.
Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2012
This recipe is a favorite of mine, Not just because it is so simple to prepare, but because it is so simple to prepare AND it has such a nice and unique flavor. Green beans have been getting a bad rap for quite a while now, and I have to say, that bad reputation has been well deserved by those mushy green things that came sliding out of a can on to many peoples’ plates through the years. Well, these green beans are far from mushy and they will delight you!
Now remember, this recipe is from our recipe book: Wedding Week at The Lark Inn” and we were preparing meals for masses of people. This recipe will serve 15. For something more for your family simply divide the quantities by 3.
OK no that’s out of the way, let’s get started!
3 lbs. of Crisp, Fresh Green Beans
4 Cloves of Garlic
Wash the beans and snap them into sections about 1 to 1/12 inches long.
Hint: Snapping green beans means that you bend them until they break (do I have to explain everything?!). If they only bend, they are too ripe.
Dice up four cloves of garlic (you could substitute 2 teaspoons of minced garlic)
Drizzle olive oil in your large skillet (or possibly two depending on the size of your skillets) Heat the skillet up on medium/high heat.
When the skillet is warm, throw in the green beans along with the garlic and drizzle with a bit more olive oil.
Turn the beans frequently to avoid burning and cook until just al dente
Tip: For my friends from the south Al Dente is not short for Albert Dente. This means that you don’t cook the bean until they is mushy. You only cook them until they are just tender enough to stick a fork in them . . . (I have to say it) as in “Stick me with a fork, I’m done!”
When finished, remove from the skillet and serve
We serve everything family style with each item in a bowl or platter of it’s own which requires those at the table to work together so that everything is passed in the same direction. I have faith in you control freaks out there . . . you can work through this!
With the light pork meat and veggies, you will want a fairly light wine; for my palette, either a nice Chardonnay or Pinot Noir will work great.
Thank you for reading!
For more information about our scheduled cooking classes or customizing a cooking class of your own, please visit my web site at www.TheLarkInn.com
Posted in Cooking and Baking on March 5, 2012
Another recipe we prepared at a Lark Inn Cooking Class is the Orange, Fennel, Red Onion and Black Olive Salad. This is one of those “Ah-Ha” recipes. What do I mean by that? Well, if you ask people whether or not they like fennel, probably 80% will tell you they don’t . . . and about 80% of them have never tasted it! I can’t tell you how many times I have prepared this and people have thanked me for opening their taste horizons to fennel.
With the contrasting flavors of the anise in the fennel, the sweet tang of the oranges and the pop of the red onion, this is a great refreshing salad for any time of year and will compliment most any food.
Let’s get started!
ORANGE, FENNEL, RED ONION AND BLACK OLIVE SALAD
PREP: 1 HOUR AND 20 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 25 MINUTES
SERVES – 6
3 LARGE NAVEL ORANGES, PEELED AND WHITE PITH REMOVED
1 LARGE FENNEL BULB, VERY THINLY SLICED LENGTHWISE, FRONDS RESERVED
1 RED ONION, THINLY SLICED LENGTHWISE INTO JULIENNE
¾ CUP KALAMATA OLIVES, PITTED AND HALVED
2 CUPS FRESH-SQUEEZED ORANGE JUICE
2 TEASPOONS ORANGE ZEST
1/4 CUP RED WINE VINEGAR
2 TABLESPOONS MINCED SHALLOTS
2 TEASPOONS HONEY
1 TEASPOON KOSHER SALT
¼ TEASPOOON FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
¼ CUP EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
USING A SHARP KNIFE, CUT ALONG THE MEMBRANES OF EACH ORANGE SEGMENT TO COMPLETELY REMOVE THE ORANGE SEGMENTS FROM THE PITH AND MEMBRANES. PLACE IN A BOWL AND RESERVE ANY ACCUMULATED JUICES SEPARATELY.
PLACE THE FENNEL, RED ONION AND BLACK OLIVES IN A SALAD BOWL AND CHILL THOROUGHLY.
PLACE THE ORANGE JUICE AND ORANGE ZEST IN A SMALL SAUCEPAN AND BRING TO A BOIL. CONTINUE TO COOK AT A SIMMER UNTIL REDUCED TO ABOUT ¼ CUP (BE CAREFUL NEAR THE END OF COOKING, AS THIS CAN EASILY BURN IF LEFT UNATTENDED.) ALLOW TO COOL, THEN TRANSFER TO A MIXING BOWL ALONG WITH THE RED WINE VINEGAR, SHALLOTS, HONEY, SALT, AND PEPPER. WHISK TO THOROUGHLY COMBINE AND ALLOW TO SIT FOR 5 MINUTES. ADD THE OIL IN A THIN, STEADY STREAM UNTIL COMPLETELY INCORPORATED AND EMULSIFIED.
ARRANGE THE ORANGE SEGMENTS OVER THE FENNEL, RED ONION, AND OLIVES AND DRIZZLE WITH THE VINAIGRETTE. TOSS GENTLY TO COMBINE, THEN SERVE THE SALAD, WITH SOME OF THE RESERVED FENNEL FRONDS ON TOP AS A GARNISH AND DRIZZLE WITH EXTRA OLIVE OIL IF DESIRED.
Thank you for reading!
Posted in Cooking and Baking on March 1, 2012
This is a great recipe we have prepared at a couple of our cooking classes at The Lark Inn. The first time was when we had guest chef Gary Martin join us for our September class: “When the Flint Hills Meet the Tuscan Hills”. This was actually a recipe Gary brought with him specifically for that class. The only other time we have fixed it was just this past Saturday night. We had a group of folks who had attended one of our general classes and decided it would be a lot of fun to do a private cooking class/party. I have to tell you it was fun. I pulled together several menu options and they picked their menu so I got to prepare Saltimbocca for my first time with that group. What can I say . . . Chef Gary was such a good teacher . . .
The recipe calls for veal or pork tenderloin and I chose to use the pork and it worked out famously. I do want to try it with the veal . . . I’m sure it will be very good also.
As you will see, this is a very savory recipe with the prosciutto and sage leaves . . . it begs to be accompanied by a nice glass of wine!
Let’s start cooking!
SALTIMBOCCA “JUMP IN THE MOUTH”
PREP: 10 – 15 MINUTES
COOKING TIME: 4 -5 MINUTES
REDUCING TIME: 10 – 15 MINUTES
THIN SLICES OF PROSCIUTTO (1 FOR EACH PIECE OF VEAL OR PORK)-OPTIONAL
FRESH SAGE LEAVES (TWO FOR EACH PIECE)
SALT AND PEPPER
½ CUP FLOUR
¼ CUP OLIVE OIL
1 CUP CHICKEN OR VEAL STOCK REDUCED TO ¼ CUP
½ CUP DRY WHITE WINE
2 TABLESPOONS CAPERS-DRAINED
PLACE VEAL SCALLOPS ON PLASTIC WRAP AND FOLD OVER. POUND SCALLOPS UNTIL FLAT AND VERY THIN. SEASON SCALLOPS WITH SALT AND PEPPER, LAY A PIECE OF PROSCIUTTO AND TWO SAGE LEAVES ON SCALLOP, FOLD OVER. REPEAT UNTIL ALL SCALLOPS ARE PREPARED. DUST LIGHTLY WITH FLOUR. MEANWHILE REDUCE STOCK OVER MEDIUM HEAT, KEEP WARM. HEAT HEAVY SKILLET OVER MEDIUM HIGH HEAT, ADD OIL. SEAR VEAL SCALLOPS ABOUT TWO MINUTES, TURN AND COOK ABOUT TWO MORE MINUTES. REMOVE FROM PAN, TENT TO KEEP WARM. ADD CAPERS TO HOT PAN, ADD WINE STIRRING TO LOOSEN BITS IN PAN AND SIMMER UNTIL MOST OF LIQUID IS EVAPORATED. STIR IN STOCK AND CONTINUE COOKING UNTIL SMOOTH. WHISK CHILLED BUTTER 1 TABLESPPON AT A TIME UNTIL SAUCE IS SMOOTH AND CREAMY.
NOTE: SERVE WITH GARLIC MASHED POTATOES OR PASTA WITH RED SAUCE.
Thank you for reading!
For more information about my cooking classes, designing your own customized private cooking class/party or accommodations in our guesthouses, visit our web site at: www.TheLarkInn.com