Labor Day…..the A/C took a day off

So, the grands were spending the night last night and it progressively got hotter inside. The A/C decided to take Labor Day weekend off. After all, it has worked for ten and half years with not so much as a hiccup. It was due. But really, on a hot and humid, last hurrah of Summer, weekend? Our basement is finished and is cooler than a Napa wine cellar, so we hung out watching Frozen and slept down there. That’s one of the great things about the Midwest…..basements. Not those old fashioned cellars smelling of dampness and dirt. I think the correct term is “lower level”. I still call it the basement because it is below ground level and it’s where I go if there is ever a tornado warning. But that’s another story for another time.

Today, the kids went home. They were pretty happy to leave, actually. Cans of pop in hand, snacks in tow, they were outta here. This is the first time they had ever experienced no A/C. It is also the first time I did not make them breakfast. I had breakfast catered by…..McDonald’s. They were a little uncomfortable in the hot house. Their mom and dad and both Gravy Guy and I were telling them about “the days before A/C”. I really couldn’t add much to the conversation since I was raised in Las Vegas and our home and schools all had A/C. They were shocked to hear of schools with no A/C. It was an abomination in their eyes!

So, this afternoon, with freshly brewed iced tea poured over crushed ice, the Guy and I enjoyed a lovely breeze and snacks out on the veranda. I tried two new cheeses and am here to report on them.


The first was Beemster brand. An aged, firm and bold cheese from Beemster, Holland. I described it to the Gravy Guy as the old cheddar cousin to Parmgiana Reggiano. A dry and sharp cheddar with just a little crunch from the salt in the cheese. It was noted on the package that it was lactose free and gluten free. Not that a little lactose or gluten is a problem for this girl but I have heard that it does pose a bit of a problem for some. This cheese was made to savor, small bites at a time. We had some whole grain crackers and a few kettle chips with the cheeses. What’s not to like…..salty and crunchy on a very warm and humid day.


The second was Collier’s Welsh Cheddar. Does that make it Wales’ Cheese? Get it? Whale’s Cheese? Sorry, I used that line on the Gravy Guy and he smiled. This cheese was another aged cheddar. A white cheddar with kind of a buttery background with the same salty crunch. Since I was describing new cheeses to the Gravy Guy, I described it as Parmesan’s sweet and buttery cousin from Wales. You can definitely tell that many centuries ago, the Romans had an influence in the making of this aged cheddar. So very good. The two cheeses complemented each other very nicely.

I am going to stay right here, on the veranda, with my feet propped up, watching the hummingbirds share feeding space with the wasps and the little finches. The cats are lying on their backs, catching the breeze across their tummies. I’m so glad I don’t have to wear fur on a day like this!



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Easy Cheesy Spread and a Glass of Red




The Dog Days of Summer are upon us.  Hot and humid days that leave you listless and unmotivated. I always want something flavorful and kind of salty on days like this. This cheese spread fills the bill.  Actually, it’s great any time of the year.  It is also great for parties and get togethers.






I had a glass of 2013 Limited Release Apothic Rose with my snack.  A semi-dry rose with just a hint of sweetness.  That little bit of sweetness plays well with spicy salami and salty cheeses. Perfect for Summer snacks on the veranda. Serve chilled. I purchased it for under $10.




Easy Cheesy Spread

1/2 cup mayonnaise

4 ounces very soft cream cheese

3/4 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup finely shredded Swiss cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons finely chopped roasted red pepper or pimientos

2 green onions finely chopped and include the green tops

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 Tablespoon of finely chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed

In a medium mixing bowl hand mix all ingredients using a spatula. Makes about 2 cups of cheese spread. It is good to go but is really much better after sitting in the fridge for a few hours. Keeps for about a week in the fridge. Spreads easily when it sits out a bit at room temperature. Serve with your favorite crackers, pita, tortillas, bread sticks, or even veggies.


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Kentucky Derby………Bourbon Cake, anyone?

Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby. My neighbor down the street is hosting the party. To celebrate, we are having Kentucky Brown open faced sandwiches, a terrific salad, and assorted snacks and libations. Dessert is this cake. My contribution to the soiree.

Normally, I don’t do a “first timer” recipe for friends or family, but this recipe read very similar to other liquor infused cakes I have made. How bad could it be?  Butter, sugar, whiskey.  I did make a slight change. I used an Irish Whiskey rather than the traditional American Bourbon.  I prefer Irish Whiskey and those of you who know me, know “the cook don’t cook what the cook don’t like”. The batter was divine. The glaze was even more divine. The cake was life changing! Yes, I tasted the batter.  I taste EVERYTHING I make during the process. It has saved me so many times.

I found the recipe in Vintage Cakes cookbook and online in a few places. It got rave reviews wherever this recipe showed up. That, right there, is a testament to a good recipe. The directions were straightforward and not complicated. I am not going to repeat the recipe but I will share where it can be found. Just click on the links I provided. So, without further ado…..

20140502-170552.jpg Kentucky Bourbon Cake

The recipe can be found in the cookbook Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson and also at the following blog sites: Hummingbird High, Bake it With Booze (has great photos of every step), Brown Eyed Baker, KCRW Good Food.

Many thanks to all for sharing this terrific recipe. I am so happy I stumbled across it.

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