God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pear Chutney Bruschetta

Once in a while, I post a recipe--if it is one that I truly think is good enough to share, is fairly easy to complete and has been a success with more than just me.  Last night I had a dinner party for 15 and so I was looking for something in the antipasti selection that would be a little different from most. I did have olives, cheeses, crackers and artichoke spreads but those are all so over used these days. So...hunt for something special to add.  This month's cooking light came to the rescue---love, love Cooking Light.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 1/2 cups finely chopped peeled Anjou, Bartlett or Bosc Pears (I used Bartlett)
1/2 cup pear nector
1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots
2 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (3 inch) cinnamon stick
4 ounces French bread baguette, cut diagonally into 16 thin slices and toast
8 tsp chopped pecans, toasted
8 tsp crumbled plue cheese
1 Tbs chopped fresh chives
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  1. Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, swirl to coat. Add shallots and saute for 2 minutes or until soft. Add pear and next 6 ingredients (through cinnamon); bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook 20 minutes or until pear is tender and mixture is thick (I had to cook longer.) Cool to room temperature. Discard cinnamon stick. 
  2. Spoon about 1 1/2 Tbs chutney over each baguette slice; top with 1/2 tsp pecans and 1/2 tsp cheese. Sprinkle with chives and thyme.
Notes: I made the chutney 3 days ahead of time and refrigerated it; then took it from the refrigerator a couple hours before using so it would not be too cold. It was perfect.  I did not pay attention to the amounts of stuff to put on each slice--just did what looked good. Also, just cut the bread as seems OK--rather than counting out 16 slices--waste of your time. I doubled this recipe which seemed perfect for 15 people along with the other appetizers.  I also mades a few with just the chutney in the event that not all guests would like the toppings.

These made a very attractive tray and the guests loved them!

I must say--this photo makes it look quite huge--they really aren't--just the right size to handle and eat.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reflections in Pictures--Finale

Reminiscing--what a gift the digital camera has been to the bitter-sweet joy of looking backward! Childhood memories, which are so soon lost, burst alive again in vivid, full screen pictures. It is as if the camera has been set to time exposure as children grow before our eyes.

Casey doesn't remember Ecuador until I bring out the picture books and suddenly he recalls minute details. God, in his unfathomable creativity, has given our minds filing cabinets where all is catalogued and stored to be reclaimed at some point in life's journey. Thank you, God.

So... the last three short slideshows of summer 2011. These pictures are our memories thus a little short on famous places and "must sees". They are family landmarks, so to speak which, if the internet lasts, Casey can show his children (and grandchildren) someday.  (Previous Three)

 (Heads up: There is music so you may want to turn down sound.)

Greve-in-Chianti--Our Italian Home Town

Cortona--Love it Here

Assisi--Last Stop 2011

Our memories of 2011--of course, each slide, for us, triggers so much more. Hope you can feel them, too.

Link to:  Reflections--Part 1

Music from Romantic Moments by André Rieu