Thursday, 28 January 2010
Thursday Thoughts . . .
"So long as we are loved by others I should say that we are almost indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend."
~Robert Louis Stevenson
Of all the many blessings in this world, I would count the gift of friendship as being the greatest one of all. I've had a great many friends in my lifetime, each one of them very special to me in unique and wonderful ways.
I have lost touch with some friends through the years, but they still rest in my heart. I take the memories of them out every once in a while, and I revisit them in my mind. I wonder where they are, and what they are doing . . . and how they are doing. They are still very well loved by me.
Some friends are kindred spirit friends. You know the kind of friend I am speaking about . . . the minute you meet, there is a spark of recognition . . . I am not sure what it is, but . . . you feel as if you have always known this person, and that . . . although you have been lost to each other for a space of time, you have finally come together again. These are truly special friends. I do believe that these are eternal friends . . . our friendships having been forged on that special plane of spiritual existance in our lives before we were born to this physical life. Perhaps we vowed in the heavens to find each other again on the earth? I don't know for sure . . . but it is a marvelous thing when we meet again and our souls touch once more . . . These are rare and precious gems.
There are real life friends and invisible friends. Real life friends are the ones you meet and see in real time. They are your neighbours, and acquaintances from work, or church, or every day life. You can touch them and feel them . . . and look into each other's eyes. Invisible friends are those that live much further away. Perhaps you have never actually even met in person, but your lives have touched and you meet together whenever you can through e-mail, or chat, letters, or on the telephone. These friends are every bit as special as real life friends. You love them all.
I've often heard it said that friends are family you get to choose for yourself, and I believe that is true, at least that's the way I feel about them. My friends enrich and bless my life in countless ways. They are so very dear to me. I hope they know just how much! If you are my friend, then know now and always, that you are carried around in my heart in a very special way and I love you very much.
"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
These are lovely little English Muffin pizzas. You can serve them as individual pizzas, or you can use them as tasty little hors D'ouevres the next time you have people over. In any case they are delicious and very easy to make. I roast my own garlic for these. I love roasted garlic. It is so mellow and rich. If you can't find cambozola you can use brie, or even a mozzarella/cheddar mix. You want a rich and flavourful cheese for these.
*Mini Pizzas with Cambozola, Roasted Garlic, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil*
Makes 12 mini pizzas, or 48 appetizer wedges
Don't you just think that the English Muffin is the perfect mini pizza crust? I do! I roast my own garlic for these. Don't let the amount put you off. Roasted garlic is very mellow and delicious!
3/4 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained well
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp black pepper
4 large heads of garlic
sea salt and black pepper, fresh ground
2 TBS olive oil
6 English muffins, split in half
6 ounces Cambozola cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup julienned fresh basil
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F.
Place the sun dried tomatoes in a small bowl. Add the balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with some black pepper. Leave to marinate.
Place the garlic heads onto a large sheet of aluminium foil. Cut the tops of off each horizontally about 1 inch down. Drizzle with the olive oil. Scatter with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring the foil up over top and seal the garlic iinside. Bake in the heated oven until the garlic is lightly brown and soft. This should take 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, remove the garlic cloves from the skins by squeezing from the bottom of each clove. Place in a bowl and mash with the back of a spoon.
To assemble the pizzas. Increase the oven temperature to 190*C/375*F. Spread 1 1/2 tsp of the roasted garlic over each muffin half. Top each with 1 tablespoon of the Cambozola cheese and 1 TBS of the sundried tomatoes, distributing them evenly over the garlic. Place on a baking sheet. Bake on the bottom rack of the heated oven until the cheese melts and the pizzas become crisp. This will take from 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle each finished pizza with some basil and serve.
Cut each into 4 wedges if you are serving them as appetizers.
Note - you can purchase the roasted garlic ready made if you wish. This does make a lot, but it comes in really handy for all sorts of things. Try mashing a little of it into your mashed potatoes next time you make them, or adding it to soups, stews or sauces. You can freeze any that isn't used by placing it in small dabs on a lined baking tray. Once frozen, drop all the dabs into a zip lock baggie and then you need only take out as many as you need at any given time.
Over on The English Kitchen today, Sticky Lemon and Ginger Chicken Stir Fry. Delicious!