Thursday, May 24, 2018

Grenada~~Day 4

I did not dive yesterday morning.  I awoke in the middle of the night with a terrible migraine and was still in pain and nauseous when it was time to leave in the morning.  Frank went and visited our dive friends, Brad and Sherry, who happen to be an ER Doctor and Trauma Nurse.  He came back with medication.  I was then able to fall asleep while Frank went diving.  I awoke around 11 am and felt much better with just the lingering residual effects of the migraine remaining.

Frank said that the visibility was not very good on the dives.  However, he did get some nice photos that he shared with me and I am sharing with you today.


I'm sorry I missed this guy.


Peek a Boo


I wish we didn't see so many of these guys.

After lunch I went back to the room and rested a bit more, read for a while and  went for a massage. By late afternoon I was feeling right back to normal.



The resort hosted a cocktail party for all of the guests.  We met the owners of the resort and mingled for a bit before heading over to the restaurant and bar area that had been taken over by locals for an evening of street food.


This was a lot of fun.  They had different stations with all kinds of local specialties.  We were given tickets and were able to pick and choose what we wished to try.  The only unusual thing that I tried was the curried goat stew which was absolutely delicious.

I got a lot of ideas for what to serve at our after dive party we will be hosting at the end of the month.

Off for our last day of diving.  See you all tomorrow.







Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Diving Grenada~~Day 3

Day 3 of diving was very nice but it started getting a little rough in the afternoon with high winds expected in the evening, canceling our scheduled night dive.

Our first stop of the morning was a site called Windmill Shallows. It contains neither a windmill nor shallows so we are unsure where the name originated. What it does contain is a Catamaran that was used for taking tourists out for rum cruises.  One morning the crew came into work and the Catamaran had disappeared.  Some time later it was discovered lying on the bottom of the ocean at the dive site.


There was an entire colony of Lionfish living on this Catamaran.  All stationed right over this feeding hole which is probably why we didn't see much else.


We did see this guy....Who's not afraid of no stinkin' lionfish.


And this spider crab who was oblivious to it all.

Our second dive was Kohanee, another section of the miles long reef system.  This was a beautiful site with a lot of marine life and gorgeous corals of all kinds.


We hung out by the pool after lunch.  We had spa services provided with our all inclusive package so Frank went for a back massage and I had a facial.  It was so wonderful that I scheduled a massage for today.



After our spa treatments we attended a chocolate and rum tasting.  We tried many different chocolates from 100% cocoa to 60% cocoa.  Some were plain, others were flavored with sea salt, nutmeg and ginger.  This is, after all, the Spice Island.   My favorite was the nutmeg flavored bar with 60% cocoa.  My most exciting find were cocoa tea balls.  I picked some up and got the recipe for cocoa tea….we have National Tea Day in June!



There were 3 different rums that we tried.  The first was 150 proof.  It was like taking a sip of lighter fluid.  The second was a Plantation Rum to be enjoyed on the rocks, with a sweeter honey flavor to it.  The last was a 10XO aged in Bourbon barrels from Tennessee and meant to be enjoyed neat.  This last was my personal favorite.


Cocktails and laughter before dinner.


Music and Dancing during Dinner.


Delicious Cajun Shrimp for dinner, that tasted more sweet and spicy than Cajun.

And then back to the room for a good night's sleep before diving the next day.  This is when my vacation went awry but more about that in tomorrows post.  See you then.







Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Grenada-Day 2

Our second day of diving with Aquanuts was just as wonderful as the first day.  The crew that we have is absolutely amazing.  This is the most relaxed dive trip that I have ever been on in my 25 years of diving.  The crew takes care of everything!!  They even take care of your wetsuits.  I have never been this pampered by a dive crew before.

Our first dive yesterday was another wreck called Shakem.  This wreck was a ship that picked up building supplies from Trinidad to bring back to Grenada.  They overloaded the ship with cement bars, blocks and rods.  The weight shifted and that was all she wrote.  This is one of the most intact shipwrecks I have seen.


We also came across a shovelnose lobster.  I had never seen one before.  You can see why lobster are sometimes called the cockroaches of the sea.


Our second dive was called Escape.  It is part of the same reef system that we explored on Day 1. 


It is a healthy, colorful reef with lots of small marine life.



A lot of shrimp hiding out on this dive.


Beauty everywhere you look.


How majestic is God's work!

We spent the remainder of the day around the pool, relaxing and reading.  I finished a novel I had been given and advanced copy of from The Book Club Cookbook for review.  I will be sharing that and the recipe it inspired shortly upon my return home.

The group we dive with is such a wonderful selection of personalities.  It is always an awesome time.  I look forward to sharing more with you tomorrow.  See you then,






Pork and Green Chile Stew #KitchenMatrixCookingChallenge

We are still cooking Mexican in our Kitchen Matrix group this month.  This week Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, asked us to be inspired by the section for Mexican Soups.


Each Tuesday of 2018 we are making and sharing a recipe inspired by the Cookbook written by Mark Bittman.  Bittman's cookbook is more of a cooking guide than a hard and set recipe book.  


The recipe that inspired me was Bittman's Pork and Green Chile Stew.  It starts off having you roast and peel the chiles.  This method is the easiest that I have found to date.  Line a baking pan with foil and plop on your chiles.  Stick them in a hot oven until they blacken and fall into themselves.  Wrap them up in the same foil that they baked on and let them steam until they are cool enough to handle.  Peel and seed them under running water. 


The stew itself was very easy to make and impressively delicious.  This meal will become a regular in this household.  We could not get enough of it.

I pretty much followed Bittman's suggestions except that I started with pork stew meat and I allowed the stew to cook much longer.  I think stew needs a long slow braise.  I like my stew meat to be fork tender.  We served this up with warmed flour tortillas.  I think it would be delicious over rice too.



#kitchenmatrixcookingproject, #pork, #stew, #chiles, #onepotmeals, #onedishmeals, #braised, #Mexican,
Stew, Soups, One Pot Meals, Pork, Dinner
Mexican
Yield: 4 servings

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Pork and Green Chile Stew

prep time: 20 MINScook time: 3 hourtotal time: 3 hours and 20 mins
Tender chunks of pork, tomatoes and poblano peppers meld together to make a warm comforting dinner.

ingredients:

6 large Poblano Peppers
2 lbs. Pork stew meat
1 med. onion, cut into large dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with juices
salt to taste
Tortillas for serving, if desired

instructions:

Place the peppers onto a foil lined baking sheet.  Place in a preheated 450* oven for 30 minutes.  Turn peppers over to brown the other side and roast for another 30-40 minutes, until browned all over and falling into themselves.  Remove from oven, wrap and seal the foil over the peppers and allow to steam until cool enough to handle.  Remove the skins, seeds and stems under running water.  Coarsely chop the peppers and set aside.

Place a dutch oven over med high heat.  When pot is hot and the pork and onions.  Season with salt.  Cook and stir until pork juices evaporate and the onion is translucent.  Add the garlic, cook and stir for 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes.  Fill the tomato can with water and add to the pot. Bring to a boil and add the chopped chiles.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the meat is fork tender, about 2 hrs.  Serve with warm tortillas, if desired.


notes

Adapted from The Kitchen Matrix Cookbook.
Created using The Recipes Generator



Please stop by and see what Mexican Soups the others are sharing.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Diving Grenada--Day 1


Grenada is a lovely island and our resort, True Blue Bay, is everything you could want.  Our rooms are lovely, the food is delicious and the service is excellent.  I will be posting photos and more about this wonderful resort in which we are staying later in the trip.

Today I want to share our diving photos from yesterday.  Our first dive was a wreck called Veronica.  The visibility wasn't great but it was a good spot for the divemasters to get to check out our group and learn our strengths and weaknesses.  Good divemasters always get to know their students in locations where they cannot cause too much damage before taking them to the better locations where buoyancy control and respect of the ocean is so important.


That is the ship in the backdrop, filled completely with cup corals.


We did find this guy who is camouflaged so well.


This beautiful Lady.


And this deceptively gorgeous but evil guy who is probably the reason we didn't see much else.


This green moray eel thought he had found a good hiding spot.


Our second dive was at a site called Northern Exposure.  Northern Exposure is part of a large, 6 mile long reef, that we will be exploring all week.  The visibility was much better and the sealife, while not prolific, was an improvement over the wreck.


This spotted moray eel popped out his head to say Hey.


This guy came out right before lunch just to make our stomachs grumble.


And some beauty to finish up Day 1 of Diving.

We all had lunch and a couple of drinks.  I went back to the room with the intent of grabbing my book and heading to the pool.  I woke up in time for dinner LOL.....



I always try to eat as much local food as I can while on vacation.  Dinner was Chicken Calaloo over a bed of roasted plantains.  It was delicious.  I was afraid I would have a hard time sleeping after that 2 hr. nap but not to worry.  Traveling caught up to me I guess.

We just got back from Day 2 of diving.  I am writing this while I wait for Frank to shower so we can have lunch.  See you all tomorrow with more photos.








Saturday, May 19, 2018

Celebrating the Warm Weather with Bordeaux #FrenchWinophiles

The French Winophiles are visiting the Bordeaux region of France this month.  We were blessed with a virtual tour guide, Gabriela of TEUWEN, who sent each of us some wonderful wines and supplied us with tons of wonderful information.  All opinions in this blog are completely my own.  I received no monetary compensation for this post.


The Cotes de Bordeaux region consists of five appellations, Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon, Francs and Sainte-Foy.  Cotes is hillside in French.  The Bordeaux region is considerably larger than these 5 areas but for todays post we will concentrate on the Cotes de Bordeaux.


I was supplied with three bottles of wine for sampling purposes, two reds and one white.  I paired the white and one of the reds for this post.  I have yet to open the third bottle but will share my thoughts when I do. 

The Cotes de Bordeaux consists of mainly small, family run wineries and only make up 10% of the production from Bordeaux.  The clay/limestone soil make the perfect growing spot for these Merlot dominated wines, 97% of which are red.  This made me very excited to try the white Bordeaux.

Both of the wines that I'm sharing here today were young and drank very well.  This is characteristic of wines from this area, they are able to be enjoyed immediately but they also age well and can be kept for several years.


As I mentioned, I was very excited to try the White Bordeaux so that was the first bottle I opened to share with you today.  This bottle from Chateau Peybonhomme Les Tours poured a beautiful golden color with green undertones.  You can visit Chateau Peybonhomme on Facebook.

Chateau Peybonhomme Les Tours, is owned by the Hubert family, and is currently being ran by the 5th generation.  They run the largest biodynamic estate in the Cotes de Blaye.   This bottle is made 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Semillon grapes.  It is very nicely priced at less than $20 a bottle.  

I paired it with Grilled Chicken Skewers, Grilled Asparagus and a Mango Rice Pilaf that I created to share with you today.  I wasn't sure how Mango Rice Pilaf would turn out, let alone how it would pair with this wine.  Let me tell you, this dish was so amazing and the pairing was perfection.  The creamy sweetness of the mango balanced  out the zing often found in Sauv Blancs.


I was going to end this post with sharing just the White Bordeaux but then, for Mother's Day, my husband made dinner.  When he served up the Grilled Strip Steaks with my favorite sides of Grilled Asparagus, Sweet Potato and Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions, he also opened the bottle of Chateau de Pitray.  This pairing also deserved some attention.

Chateau de Pitray has been owned by the same family for the past 600 years.  The grapes are grown herbicide free and are vat or barrel aged on the property.  This bottle of Premier Vin is available for less than $15 and tastes as if it would cost much more.  You can visit Chateau de Pitray on Facebook

A blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon made it a perfect pairing for the grilled steak.  I could easily see this becoming a regular pour in this household.  We are Cab drinkers normally and this was a wonderful wine, especially considering the affordability. 

This event is being hosted by Michelle of Rockin Red Blog.  You can read her preview post and are invited to join us for Twitter Chat today following #winophiles. I won't be there because I will be on a plane heading to Granada for a week long dive adventure.  YAY.....

I will be there in spirit though and I will be checking out what the others had to say about the Cotes de Bordeaux wines.  Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy the articles.  You will find my recipe for the Mango Pilaf at the bottom of this post.

  • Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles shares “Côtes de Bordeaux pairings through Blaye, Cadillac & Castillon” 
  • Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla offers “Exploring the Côtes de Bordeaux with Simple, Salty, Spicy Nibbles” 
  • David from Cooking Chat brings us “Cheesy Beef Casserole with Wine from Côtes de Bordeaux” 
  • Nicole from Somm’s Table explores “2 oz Pours: 5 Nights of BDX” 
  • Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog offers “Côtes de Bordeaux: Your Go-To For Affordable, Approachable Bordeaux”
  • Gwen from Wine Predator shares “Affordable French: Bordeaux and Burgers for #Winophiles” 
  • Rupal the Syrah Queen gives us “5 Reasons You Should Be Drinking Côtes de Bordeaux” 
  • Jill of L’Occasion offers a “Guide to the Wines of Côtes de Bordeaux” 
  • Lynn of Savor the Harvest shares “Côtes de Bordeaux: A Chateau Carsin Surprise” 
  • Jeff at FoodWineClick! shares “Drinking Tuesday Night Bordeaux” 
  • Liz Barrett of What’s In That Bottle helps us with “Get to Know Côtes de Bordeaux #Winophiles” 
  • Lauren from The Swirling Dervish offers “Côtes de Bordeaux: Why It Should Be on Your Wine Shopping List” 
  • Amber of Wine Travel Eats gives us “Salmanazar – Côtes de Bordeaux” 
  • Michelle of Rockin Red Blog will be sharing “Drinking Bordeaux in Blue Jeans” 


Yield: 4 servings

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Mango Pilaf

Tender rice pilaf studded with creamy sweet mango bits makes the perfect accompaniment for grilled chicken or fish.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 30 MINStotal time: 40 mins

ingredients:

1 c. long grain white rice
1 t. olive oil
1/2 small onion diced
1/2 c. white wine
1 c. vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 ripe mango, pitted, peeled and diced

instructions

Heat oil in skillet over med high heat.  Add rice and onion, stirring to coat with the oil. Cook and stir until rice is translucent but not browned.  Add the wine, cook and stir until evaporated.  Add the stock, bring to a boil, stir and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, adding more stock or water,  if needed.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and stir in mango before serving.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Spinach Tortellini Soup #SoupSaturdaySwappers

Welcome to Soup Saturday Swappers, a little group I started, where we share a soup/stew each month based on a theme chosen by one of our members.

This month's theme, "Let's Go Meatless", was chosen by Paula of The Saucy Southerner.  We could make any kind of soup we wanted; chowder, creamy. brothy, chunky, bisque, stew as long as it contained no meat or meat broths.

We celebrate Meatless Mondays here on the Farm.  I also try to incorporate Meatless Meals several more times during the month.  It is so easy to get into the habit of only thinking of meat as your protein each meal, so I'm happy that Paula chose this theme to get me out of that rut.


This delicious and easy peasy soup is quick to make.  It is perfect for a weeknight meal, coming together in less than a half an hour using refrigerated, prepared cheese tortellini and canned goods from you pantry.


Like any good soup, the secret is layering of flavors.  Start out by doing a quick cook of carrots, celery and onion in olive oil until the veggies start to soften and become aromatic.


Add in the canned tomatoes and their juices.  Cook and stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan.


Add in the vegetable broth, bring to a boil.  Cook until vegetables are tender.  About 10 minutes.


Add the tortellini and the spinach, reduce heat and cook until heated through and spinach is wilted., about 5 minutes.


Notice the difference in the color of the soup?  That is because when I went into the refrigerator for the tortellini and spinach I spied a container holding the remainders of the tomato soup (condensed mixed with milk) that the Little Miss had eaten for lunch the day before.  I grabbed it and added it to this soup.  It gave it a little more body and was very good.  You can absolutely do without it but if you want to stretch this soup, make it a little heartier and creamier, or happen to have leftover cream of tomato soup, by all means add it.



Make sure you stop by and see the other Meatless Creations being offered this week. You will find links to them all at the bottom of this post.

Interested in joining us on the third Saturday of June when we make Chowders?  Just leave your blog name and url in the comments section and I will send you an invitation.



Yield: 6 servings

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Spinach Tortellini Soup

This semi homemade soup is quick, easy and delicious. Perfect for a weeknight meal.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 20 MINStotal time: 30 mins

ingredients:

1 T. olive oil
2 carrots, scraped and diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t. dried basil
1/4 t. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with juices
1 (32 oz) container vegetable stock
3 oz. baby spinach leaves
1 (10 oz) pkg refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 (10 oz) can condensed tomato soup (if desired)
1 soup can of milik (if desired)

instructions

In large soup pot, heat olive oil over med high heat.  Add the carrots, onion and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent and aromatic.  Add the garlic, basil, thyme, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Add the tomatoes and juices, cook and stir scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender.

Reduce the heat to med low.  Whisk together the condensed soup and milk, if using and add it to the pot, stirring to combine.  Add the tortellini and spinach. Cook, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes until heated through.

notes

If you are adverse to condensed soup you could add another can of tomatoes and the milk for a creamier consistency.

This soup is delicious brothy as well so feel free to omit the milk altogether.  

I often add fresh zucchini or summer squash to this soup as well when it is in season.
Created using The Recipes Generator


More Meatless Soups and Stews