Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival...Outdoor Wednesday...

We were lucky enough to experience the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival this month so join me for a quick peak at some amazing flowers and topiary.

Please visit our hostess Susan HERE to view more Outdoor Wednesday photos.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Goffy Hat Tricks...Mosaic Monday...

click on mosaic photo to enlarge

Our little "Mr. Vundervant's" had so much fun acting goffy with his Mickey Mouse ears in front of the giant Goffy topiary at Epcot this month.

Please visit Mary HERE at the little red house for more fun mosaics.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Le Cordon Bleu... culinary delight for the Atlanta bloggers...

Lunch at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta was beyond expectations. It was FABULOUS! From the time I called for a reservation for lunch, was offered a tour from the professional Ms. Flynn ( lead chef instructor) at the student run restaurant LUMIERE , until the last morsel of the incredible dessert was tasted this school lived up to it's outstanding reputation.

Ms. Flynn greeted us with a welcoming smile. Our guided tour was hosted by a professional and personable student. We learned about the different courses, requirements for graduation and some cooking techniques. Norman was very patient and knowledgeable answering our many questions. He informed us that he would also be our waiter at Lumiere. It is nice to know that Le Cordon Bleu gives their students a well rounded education which encompasses every aspect of the restaurant experience. We wish Norman the best as he heads up to Alaska to begin his career.

Classrooms were neat and clean. It looks like someone was preparing to teach a pastry class.. I would love to participate in this class and play with all the FLOUR and butter using one of those professional mixers. I did notice that quiet a few ingredients were being weighed in the pastry class. I sure would need a big scale just for myself after tasting all those amazing desserts.

Students in this class were getting ready to learn some basic knife skills. Today's assignment was to learn to chop and cut onions, carrots and potatoes uniformly to insure even cooking.

It was test day in many classrooms. Students had to cut carrots into different sizes and were being graded on precision and uniformity. Practice leads to perfection in this classroom. Another class was preparing a complete meal. Students were in the library reading recipes in books, on line and in the latest gourmet magazines. Some were involved in a pastry class and some were leaning how to sous vide. My favorite thing were the hats!

click on photo to enlarge

Time to head into lunch. Now this is one of the best kept secrets for lunch and dinner in Atlanta. Shh! Let's only tell our discerning gourmet friends about Lumiere. We can't wait to return again as the menu changes seasonally.

Stepping into Lumiere we are greeted with a visually pleasing environment in which to being our dining experience.

I love the fact that while you are relaxing with friends you can see into the pristine kitchen and watch the chefs work their magic incorporating fresh ingredients while using state of the art grills/ovens. The delicious smells coming from the kitchen were intoxicating. There are classes in wine pairing so your waiter is knowledgeable in helping to choose a wine to compliment your food choice.
click on photo to enlarge

Baby lamb chops over butternut squash with french green beans served with a delicious fig demi glaze, a brown sugar/Bourbon marinated steak and a chocolate dessert were just a few of our luncheon choices.
click on photo to enlarge
Sandie of the Chatty Crone HERE and Denise are enjoying soup and salad. We all agreed the biscuits were the best ever. There was one biscuit left and it was amazing that we did not dual over the lone biscuit. We certainly did not want to start a riot and have the food police called in like at last months luncheon HERE.

Please visit Sue at Rue Mouffetard HERE for more photos and information about this luncheon

Rose from a Santamakersjourney HERE and Sue drive off into the sunset, or in this case the Atlanta traffic, contemplating where we should all lunch next month because nothing can ever top today's PERFECT lunch at Le Cordon Bleu.

Thanks to Ms. Flynn and Norman and all the chefs and future chefs who made our day a pleasant experience!

I am linking this post to Foodie Friday hosted by DesignbyGollum HERE.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Philly Flower Show Part IV...Cruise...

You're invited to sail with me on the SS Johnny Depp.

Don't you just think he is the cutest pirate ever?

No packing required but don't forget to bring your sea legs/wooden leg
your favorite talking parrot.

Come Aboard with your passport.

Lot's of colorful flowers to welcome us.

Champagne for everyone!
Johnny prefers Captain Jack Rum.
It all makes walking the plank that more interesting.

Can you tell where we are headed?


Now that would be too fast a trip considering Johnny's on board.

For fun with Johnny a girl wants to take a slow boat to


Please come back tomorrow as the Philly Flower Passport to the World tour continues.
I know that this post is cheesy but when you are babysitting a toddler this is the best you can handle some days when you are multi-tasking!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Philly Flower Show Part III...Holland and Tulips...

Grab your passport and let's travel over the bridge to Holland.
(click on photos to see detail)

Park your bike and let us walk around the town.

Don't you just love this bicycle basket filled with tulips?

Let's walk around tulpenmanie.

A gorgeous window full of sunny yellow tulips.

What is your favorite type of tulip?

My favorite is a pink parrot tulip.

Please come back and join me as we journey to another country later this week.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Philly Flower Show Part II...Africa...

Let's continue our tour of the Philly Flower show Passport to the World.

Let's visit AFRICA.
(click on each photo to enlarge to see the flower detail)

Beautiful orchids to adorn a giant giraffe.

You can see the size of
this giraffe compared to the size of the spectators in the convention hall.

Local villagers adorned with colorful flowers.

This guy must be the chief or the local medicine man.
He reminds me of my dentist.

Hold onto your passport as we travel to another county this week to view more flowers.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Irish Soda Bread...Pub Crawl / St. Patrick's Day Celebration..

Top of the morning to you my Irish friends & a very Happy St. Patrick's day!

Thank you to our Irish hostess Kathleen at Cuisine Kathleen for hosting the 2nd Pub Crawl to celebrate St. Patrick's day. Please visit Kathleen HERE to view more green posts.

A stop at St. Patrick's Cathedral is always first on my crawl list when I am in NY. The alter is adorned with a painting of St. Patrick. Time to say a prayer for New York's finest police and fire fighters who risk their lives each and every day to keep us safe.

Off we crawl right out of the front doors onto Fifth Avenue to enjoy the St. Patrick's day parade.

Time to crawl over to a local pub for a few shots of good Irish whiskey, washed down with some Irish Guinness to take the chill off of the windy and cold March day.

Let's crawl on down to DC to have a look at the green fountain at the White House.

Now we all know that there is a whole lot of Blarney talk going on down there. Those folks up on capital hill sure have the gift of the gab. Sure seems that is all they are doing these days and not addressing the issue of high unemployment rates. Wouldn't you enjoy catching the leprechauns who are making your pot of gold disappear in DC?

All that Blarney talk certainly makes me want to have a shot or two along with two extra strength Excedrin to clear my head before I continue to crawl onto the next location.

Next we crawl on down to Disney to celebrate with Mickey who likes to be called his Irish nickname of "MICK". We find a totally exhausted Mother of a toddler who was tempted to be wearin the green in the form of a very silly Irish hat with ears while doing the Irish jig on Main Street USA. In this case the jig was more in the form of running after the toddler all day!

What better way to end the pub crawl but to crawl home and have some Irish coffee to warm your body and heart.

Let' s share a late night treat of some homemade Irish soda bread too before we crawl into bed and get some sleep and dream about the Emerald Isle!

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoon granulated sugar (I use 1/3 cup because I like it sweeter)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup raisins
3 tablespoons caraway seeds
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet. I use an ungreased silpat mat.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add raisins and caraway seeds and toss lightly.

Add buttermilk and toss mixture with a fork until all dry ingredients are moistened. Dough will be very soft.

Form dough into a ball and lightly knead on a floured board for about 30 seconds or until dough is smooth.

Divide dough into two equal portions and shape into balls.

Place them on the cookie sheet and, with a sharp knife, cut an X on top of each loaf about 1/4 inch deep.

Bake for 50 minutes, or until crusty and golden.

Yield: 2 loaves or 4 small loaves.

Go raibh mile maith agat!
(May you have 1,000 good things, many thanks)