Rebekah Lyn's Kitchen

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Backyard Harvest June 29, 2012

Filed under: Cooking,Recipes — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:52 AM
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Roma Tomatoes

Last month I shared with you some pictures of my potted garden herbs and tomatoes.  My yard is tiny so keeping plants in pots and even some of the reusable shopping bags has given me access to fresh herbs and tomatoes right outside my back door.  Over the weekend I harvested about 20 Roma tomatoes and was at a loss of what to do with them.

Tomato Basil is one of my favorite soups so I searched for a recipe to make it from scratch.  I was thrilled when I found one that was super easy, but it only called for two tomatoes to make enough soup for two.  Since I was using the smaller Roma tomato I decided to use five, and I probably could have used two or three more.  I had some left over cheese tortellini, from the recipe I referenced on June 22,  that I added to my soup as well.  Check out how easy this recipe is.

w/ cheese tortellini  Rich and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Serves 2

2 tomatoes-peeled, seeded, and diced

2 cups tomato juice (I used a can of diced tomatoes that I pureed in the blender)

7 leaves fresh basil

½ cup heavy whipping cream

¼ cup butter

salt & pepper to taste

Place tomatoes and juice in a stock pot over medium heat.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Puree       the tomato mixture along with the basil leaves and return the puree to the stock pot

Place the pot over medium heat and stir in the heavy whipping cream and butter.  Season with salt & pepper.  Heat, stirring until the butter is melted.  Do not boil.

If you want to serve more guests, you can multiple each ingredient by 2.  I still have a ton of tomatoes left so this weekend I will be making salsa and searching for ways to preserve whatever is left over.  I’ll keep you posted.

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Never Arrive Empty Handed June 27, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Cooking,Family,Fresh Foods,Recipes — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:53 AM
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Summer means strawberries.  I love strawberries and was thrilled I was able to go to the Strawberry Festival at my friend’s church when I was visiting North Carolina last month.  They had strawberry cake, homemade ice cream, pie, muffins, and chocolate covered.  I ate until I couldn’t eat anymore and was sad to leave.  Since returning home I have oogled the strawberries in the grocery store, but knew I didn’t have anyone to bake for so I restrained myself from scooping them up.

 

Sunday I was invited to dinner with some friends and I saw my chance to break out a new strawberry recipe.  I was born with the spirit of a hostess and all the times I visited my great-aunt Virginia and watched as she hosted our family gatherings made me want to be just like her when I grew up.  Sadly I don’t currently have the home to play hostess, but I can still practice my skills when I am invited to other homes.  I immediately pulled out my recipe, made my shopping list, and hit the store.

 

When I knocked on my hostess’ door and saw her smile as I handed her the container of strawberry pie mini trifles I felt the rush entertaining always brings me.  If you are looking for a refreshing treat sure to impress give this recipe a try.

 

 

Strawberry Pie Mini Trifles                    

 1 package refrigerated pie dough (14.5 oz)

1 egg white

1 tablespoon water

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

2 cups sliced strawberries

2 cups Whipped Cream (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Unroll pie dough and place on baking sheet

In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and water.  Brush onto pie dough.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until golden brown, approximately 10 minutes.  Cool completely on baking sheet.  Break into large pieces and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sliced strawberries and remaining ¼ cup sugar.

In 8 miniature trifle dishes (I used flared 8 oz juice glasses), layer one-third of piecrust pieces, one-third of strawberries, and half of whipped cream.  Repeat layers. Top with remaining strawberries and piecrust pieces.  (I topped with fresh mint)

 

Whipped Cream

2 1/2 cups heaving whipping cream

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl, beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Slowly add confectioners’ sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.  Refrigerate until needed.

 

Yum Yum Crab Cakes June 25, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Books,Cooking,Family,Recipes — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:55 AM
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I hope you enjoyed the last excerpt and recipe.  Did anyone try it out over the weekend?  If so I would love to hear what you thought.  Today’s excerpt has Julianne being comforted by Gavin, the man she has loved from afar for years.

new book cover

Julianne sat in shocked silence. Hearing Gavin praise her work like this was the last thing she could have imagined this morning. Her heart swelled with pride and tears stung her eyes.

“Thank you,” was all she was able to whisper through her constricted throat.

“You know, I gave Oliver a script the other night that I think he is right for. I’d really appreciate it if you could run some research on it for me before anything gets set in stone. I could give you a copy at dinner tomorrow night. I’d pay you of course.”

A tear trickled down her cheek then she was bent over with laughter over her earlier hysteria. Gavin sat awkwardly not quite understanding what was happening but suddenly longing to hold her. How had he overlooked her for so long? For the first time he saw how truly beautiful, intelligent, and passionate she was. Deep in thought, he sat beside her and wiped her tears away.

Julianne stopped laughing. Her eyelashes sparkled with droplets of water. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. She leaned into him and inhaled his familiar scent. His heartbeat was strong and even against her ear.

“Thank you for taking me seriously Gavin instead of just appeasing me because I am Michael’s little sister.”

“You are certainly more than that,” Gavin breathed into her hair. “You’re a force to be reckoned with, Julianne Finnegan, and I think you just hit your stride.” He gently kissed the top of her head sending shivers down her spine.

Julianne felt safe in Gavin’s arms. So many nights she had dreamed of this moment and now the reality seemed impossible. She buried her head in his shoulder and basked in his warmth wanting the moment to last forever.

Gavin gently ran his hand down Julianne’s hair in a hypnotic motion. He tried to think back to the first time he had met her, but he couldn’t. He remembered his first meeting with Michael in college, but Julianne had just appeared. No grand moment, nothing that made an impression on him. She had been quiet and shy, seemingly content in her brother’s shadow. Not once had he taken the time really to get to know her.

“Gavin, are you going to answer that?” Julianne pulled away wiping her face with her hands.

“What?” he looked at her distractedly.

“Your cell phone.” She pointed at his jacket pocket where the ringing sound came from.

“Oh, yeah,” he reached in and flipped it open. “Hello?”

“I’m getting ready to head out for lunch and thought I would see if you were interested in joining me.”

“Sure, Michael,” Gavin replied leaning away from Julianne. “Lunch sounds good. How about I meet you in twenty minutes? I’m over at Julianne’s”

“The Downtowner okay with you?”

“Actually, would you mind the Ocean Market? I have been craving their crab cakes.”

“See you there.”

 Crab Cakes

1 egg

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 teaspoons lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 tablespoon minced green onions

8 ounces crabmeat

1/2 cup crushed buttery round crackers

1 tablespoon butter

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, tarragon, and scallions. Gently stir in crabmeat, being careful not to break up meat. Gradually mix in cracker crumbs, adding until desired consistency is achieved.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Form crab mixture into 4 patties. Place patties in skillet, and cook until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side.

 

Chicken Tortellini Recipe from Julianne June 22, 2012

Filed under: Books,Fresh Foods — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:55 AM
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This week I am sharing excerpts from my new novel, Julianne.  Each excerpt comes from a chapter that involves food and, of course, I am going to share the recipes.  Today you will be treated to Michael’s Roasted Chicken with Creamy Cheese Tortellini and Asparagus.  Michael and Julianne Finnegan are siblings in the small coastal town of Alexandria, NC.  Michael is a successful owner of several resorts and restaurants, while Julianne is floundering in one dead-end job after another.  The excerpt below takes place when Michael comes over to check on his sister and makes her dinner.

new book cover

“What do you want for dinner?

“I hadn’t even thought about it. What time is it anyway?”

“Four thirty. I thought I would make you something to eat before running over to the Serenity Beach Resort to check on a family reunion group.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“I know, but I want to. Let me see what’s in the kitchen to work with. You put up your feet and watch some TV.” Michael handed her the remote before disappearing into the kitchen.

Julianne flipped through the channels disinterested in any of the afternoon fluff TV. She listened to Michael rattling around in the kitchen, humming to himself as he cooked.

“Did Gavin tell you Oliver came by earlier?” She called out to Michael. The humming stopped and the kitchen was silent.

“I haven’t talked to him since this morning,” he finally replied. Julianne wandered into the kitchen and leaned against the counter.

“He came to tell me about the trouble he got into in L.A. He said you already knew about it.”

“We talked last night. I remembered Gavin mentioning it to me several years ago.”

“It’s so hard to believe he was into the drugs and all that. He seems so together.”

“He was lucky to be working with a director who saw the talent he was throwing away and was willing to step in. All his friends disappeared during rehab, giving him a lot to think about.”

“If he hadn’t told me himself I wouldn’t believe it. The person he described just doesn’t match what I have seen of him. I wonder why he felt he had to tell me.”

Michael stopped stirring the sauce he was making. Slowly he turned to face his sister.

“He told you because of me.” Michael watched her face change from confusion to horror.

“What did you do?” she cried.

“When we talked last night I warned him not to get you involved in any of that garbage.”

“How could you?”

“Wait. Let me finish. I admit I was trying to be rough and intimidate him. I wanted to get his reaction. He told me he understood where I was coming from, and didn’t try to hide anything. I told him I wouldn’t share any of it with you, that he could choose if you needed to know or not.”

“So he was afraid I would find out from you or Gavin eventually.” Julianne sat on a bar stool and rested her head in her hands. For the second time her idea that a bond was forming with Oliver was shattered.

Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts

chicken breasts (Michael used boneless, skinless breasts)

5 carrots (peeled quartered halfed)

1 onion (quartered)

¼ cup margarine (butter)

2 tbsps minced garlic

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp rosemary (chopped fine)

1 tsp paprika

salt

pepper

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.

Clean and debone chicken, season with salt and pepper, peel and quarter carrots and then split quarters in half place in aluminum foil lined roasting pan. Place chicken on top of carrots. Quarter and onion and place in roasting pan. Melt quarter stick margarine or butter and add all spices.

Drizzle over chicken.

Bake chicken for 35-40 minutes until skin is golden brown.

 

Creamy Cheese Tortellini and Asparagus

4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

2 garlic cloves (smashed)

3 thyme (sprigs)

2 strips lemon zest (2 by 1 inch)

18 ozs cheese tortellini (refrigerated frozen or dried)

2 tsps cornstarch

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 bunch asparagus (¾ pound trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally)

½ cup parmigiano-reggiano (grated)

Boil broth with garlic, thyme, zest, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large heavy skillet until reduced to about 1 cup, about 6 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs and zest.

Meanwhile, cook tortellini in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (1 1/2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts water) according to package directions. Drain.

Stir cornstarch into cream, then whisk into broth. Bring to a simmer, whisking, then continue to simmer 1 minute. Add asparagus and simmer until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in cheese and tortellini and cook, gently stirring, until heated through.

 

Launch of the Coastal Chronicles June 20, 2012

Yesterday was the digital release of my second novel, Julianne.  I have been writing most of my life.  I was the kid in school who new book coverdidn’t cringe when a term paper was assigned; I relished the idea and delved into my research.  However, when it came to my personal stories, I had a problem with actually finishing them.  Julianne was one of those stories.  I started it in 2003, got about halfway through and then life got in the way.  I let it drop by the wayside.  Six years later I picked it back up, determined to actually complete one novel.  The day I wrote the last sentence was one of the proudest moments of my life.  I had finally completed a full novel.  I then promptly put it away and moved on to another story.

When I managed to complete and publish Summer Storms in two years, I decided to go back to Julianne and see if there was actually anything there worth working on to publish.  I was appalled to see how much repetition there was in the story and began stripping it down to its bare bones in order to build it back up.  It was an interesting experience to see how much I personally have changed since I first wrote Julianne.  I looked at the whole story with new eyes and even questioned if I needed to change the main characters to make them more appealing.  Then I realized the things that made them appealing to me in the beginning was they were reflective of where I was in my life at that time, and maybe there are other people who are in that same place now. Will they relate with Julianne, Oliver, Cameron, Michael, or Gavin?  Maybe their original flaws were more of a ministry to my future readers than anything I could create now.

One of my favorite things about writing this book though, was all the food.  My next couple of posts will share recipes and snippets from the book.  If you are a member of Amazon Prime you can borrow Julianne over the next 3 months.  Stay tuned for more details.

 

The Dentist Diet June 7, 2012

Filed under: Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 12:22 PM
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Yesterday I had oral surgery to repair an issue with an old root canal.  I haven’t been a fan of the dentist since I broke out with chicken pox while getting braces put on in the 5th grade, and this latest experience reinforces my aversion.  Sure the doctor & nurses were nice, but the procedure itself was awful in every way, especially the post-surgery diet.

For hours after the surgery my face was so numb I was afraid everything I put in my mouth would slide right out.  I would have used a straw for beverages, but I worried this would cause my stitches to pop and I couldn’t bear the idea of having to go back to get sewn up again.  When I nibbled on some Mac & Cheese, the spoon barely fit in the crooked opening of my paralyzed lips.

Morning came and I awoke to find my face swollen twice its normal size.  I feel like I could get a part in the next installment of Planet of the Apes.  For lunch I am looking forward to chocolate pudding and more Mac & Cheese.

 

 
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