Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Remembering A Nursery Rhyme

"I see the moon and the moon sees me The moon sees the somebody I'd like to see. God bless the moon and God bless me God bless the somebody I'd like to see!"

Tonight while soaking in a bubble bath, I said a prayer then I happened to look up. My eyes drifted under the curtains and in a tiny crack in the blinds I saw the moon. I said, "I see the moon and the moon sees me, God sees the moon and God sees me."

We all have prayers, we all experience need, we all have grief, we all laugh, and we cry....we feel pain, we feel hope, we have faith and that's the only thing that keeps us going when we can't even find the strength to breathe we somehow go on. Sometimes we become numb. We fear. It's when we let go that we are free.

I said a prayer of need tonight. I believe I saw the moon for a reason. I have faith that something can happen. Great need exist in this world. And we all have needs. We all feel, we all bleed, we are all human. We all live in our own existences and they all matter. We go through different trials, but we feel a similar feeling. We all look up and see the same moon all people, all cultures, all hurt, all love, all happiness, all in need, and God sees it all, feels it all, and holds it all.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Basic Marinara Sauce

I took Father Glenn's recipe and made it more basic and smaller. It's easy - anyone can do it and you've got most the ingredients. It's an inexpensive but impressive meal.

1 can peeled tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
½ green pepper (optional)
1/2 an onion
1 shallot
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. dry thyme
dash of fennel seed
½ tsp. dry oregano
dash of sea salt
ground pepper to taste
1 tsp. sugar
½ cup of red wine (optional)
2 tbs. (3 branches) fresh parsley - can use dried
2 tbs. fresh basil - chopped - can use dried fresh preferred

Sauté onions & garlic in olive oil on medium/low heat - stirring occasionally. After 3 mins put a dash of sea salt and generous black pepper on top with thyme, oregano, and fennel seed (and bell pepper if your doing that) cook down another 2 - 4 mins. Put tomato can in and half a can of paste (may or may not use the other half at the end to thicken). Take your spoon and break up the tomatoes. Put in parsley, sugar, (red wine), and stir well. Simmer on lowest heat covered for 30 minutes to an hour. Put basil in and last paste after it has simmered - stir. Turn off or low and let cool. Freeze or leave out for reheating for dinner.

The Power Of Smell

One of my favorite smells is that of sauteing onions & garlic. Even though it's something simple the smell is sophisticated and adds such great flavor to any dish - it will make anyone feel like the are a chef for a moment about to make an exquisite concoction.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nonnie's Pie

There's nothing like grandmother's cookin'. My Nonnie knows how I love chocolate in her pies so she put chocolate chips in a recipe she found of her mothers, oatmeal pie, just in case I came over. Well, I did and couldn't resist having not just one piece but two pieces. How I love my Nonnie's pies - made so yummy, but most important made with love. I'm thankful for her and my D-Daddy and the every second I get to spend with them!
Oatmeal Pie
1 - 2 Cups of Evaporated Milk
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
2 Eggs Beaten
3 – 4 cups sugar
2 – 3 cups white corn syrup
1 – 2 stick butter
(so old it originally said margarine)
1 – 2 cup coconut
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup of chocolate chips
1 9 in. unbaked pie shell
Mix all ingredients together and pour into an unbaked pie crust. Bake for 1 hour at 350.
Optional: Add nuts and chocolate chips

A look at Bo's first year.....

Monday, September 7, 2009

Good Ole' Southern Fixins' with a Napa Flair

We went to Fresh Market yesterday. We had tonights labor day dinner planned, but we were just going to let it come to us for what we'd make or as the say in Arkansas "fix" last night. Come to us it did. We a saw a sign when we walked in - special on Ribs. I remembered I had green beans at home and thought I'd try my Nonnie's sweet corn recipe. We got home, and checked to see if Michael Chiarello in Napa had a recipe for ribs - he did and we had all the ingredients for the homemade espresso bbq sauce. A southern recipe with a touch of napa. Boy was it good! Sometimes the best ideas come to you when you don't plan.

Baby Back Ribs with Espresso BBQ Sauce
FROM: Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking Cookbook-Signed As Seen On: Big Red Meat (103)
Serves: Serves 6

For the ribs:3 racks of baby back ribsGray salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce: 1 cup honey 1/4 cup soy sauce1/2 cup balsamic vinegar1 cup ketchup1/4 cup espresso2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil2 tablespoons minced garlicor2 cups Tuscan Bar-B-Que Sauce

Directions Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Cut each rack of ribs in half. Season with salt and pepper. Stack the ribs on a foil-covered baking sheet, in two piles of 3 pieces. Bake in the oven about 2-1/2 hours, or until tender, rotating the ribs every 30 minutes.

Remove the ribs from the oven and cover them with foil to keep them moist and tender.
For the sauce:In a bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, and espresso.
Place the olive oil and garlic in a small sauté pan. Cook over low heat for about 1 minute, or until it turns a golden brown. Remove from heat. Add to the honey mixture. Place the honey mixture in a saucepan and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes to blend the flavors.

To complete the ribs:Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, or preheat a grill. Brush the BBQ sauce on both sides of the ribs, and arrange them in a single layer. Turn and baste the ribs as they cook. Remove when the ribs are glazed and carmelized, about 15 minutes.

So if you don't know what to cook on this Labor Day holiday - try this!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pizza Night

Every week at our house has a pizza night. I remember the first time I tasted Mother Mary's homemade pizza - I ate so much I got sick! Needless to say over indulged and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite!

We've taken to grilling our pizza's, and as an anniversary gift a couple years ago we got a high quality all clad stone for such purposes. Important to have the right tools - in anything you do.
There have been so many different types of pizza that have come out of our kitchen but the following our the staples sometimes with different variations - anything goes - whatever you like it's all about the fun.

Fresh Tomato Mozzarella
Fresh Basil
Fresh Mozzarella
shredded mozzarella
Roma Tomato’s

Steak Pizza
shredded mozzarella
bell pepper

Chicken Sausage/Pineapple
Chicken Sausage (3)
red bell pepper
shredded mozzarella

Southwest Chicken
shredded mozzarella
black beans
purple onion
grilled chicken
green onion
monterrey jack/cheddar

The one we are making tonight is Pesto Chicken, we will use the fresh basil from our garden to make the pesto.

Basic Pesto Recipe For Pesto Pizza
Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese
Blend together

Pesto Pizza
Mushroom Asiago Chicken Sausage
Roma Tomatoes
Shredded Mozzarella

Pizza Dough
Ingredients for one 12 inch pizza:
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/4 cup flour1 tsp salt1 tsp sugar 1 teaspoon dry or instant yeast

Place in bowl in the order above kneed with your hands - making a ball and adding extra flour as needed till it doesn’t stick to your hands - kneed for about 5 mins. Get it in the shape of a ball in the bowl - cover the bowl with a towel and let it sit and rise for about 20 minutes. Need again for 1 -3 minuets (add flour if necessary) then let it rise again for another 20 after which it should be ready to go. Add olive oil on the ball of dough to make it shinny then place ball of doe on a wooden paddle and shape into a pizza. After it’s in the shape you want add a little olive oil on the top and spread it across the pizza with a spoon. Grind some pepper on the dough - then start adding your toppings.

You can always use a bread maker and a recipe for the bread maker - I do both and even when something goes wrong - if I give it enough time the bread seems to be forgiving and we can make it work. There are a lot of lessons bread can teach us - a great book is Brother Juniper.

Try a pizza and dough - get the kids involved. Have fun. Make memories. Make a tradition. Pass it on.

Monday's Meal - Rick Bayless' Grilled Beef Tacos

We enjoyed watching Rick Bayless compete for the title of top chef master; although we were sad to see the title go to him rather than our new aquaintance Michael Chiarello. We tried one of his recipes this week, and tasted the reason he's received such awards and acknowledgments.

Enjoy the recipe -enjoy the fun.......

For grilled beef tacos, skirt steak is a great choice. A simple marinade of lime juice, garlic and cumin enlivens a very beefy tasting cut that’s perfect with grilled chile strips.

Makes 12 tacos, serving 4 as a light meal

2 medium white onions, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds (keep the rounds intact for easy grilling)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon cumin, preferably freshly ground Salt
1 pound skirt steak, trimmed of surface fat & thin white membrane called “silver skin"
3 medium (about 9 ounces total) fresh poblano chiles
Vegetable or olive oil for brushing or spritzing the onions and meat
A small bowlful of lime wedges for serving
12 fresh, warm corn tortillas

Marinating the meat. In a food processor or blender, combine 1/4 of the onion, the garlic, lime juice, cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Process to a smooth puree. Place the skirt steak in a non-aluminum baking dish. Using a spoon, smear the marinade over both sides of the skirt steak. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

Making the grilled chile-and-onion rajas. Turn on the oven to its lowest setting. Heat a gas grill to medium-high or light a charcoal fire and let it burn just until the coals are covered with gray ash. Either turn the burner(s) in the center of the grill to medium-low or bank the coals to the sides of the grill for indirect cooking. Now, lay the chiles on the hottest part of the grill, and cook, turning occasionally, until the skin is blistered and blackened uniformly all over, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to char the flesh, only the skin. Remove the chiles from the grill and cover with a kitchen towel. While the chiles are roasting, brush or spray the remaining onion slices with oil, and lay the whole rounds of onions on the grill in a cooler spot than you chose for the chiles. When they’re starting to soften and are browned, about 10 minutes, use a spatula to flip them and brown the other side.

Transfer to an ovenproof serving dish and break the rings apart (if they haven’t started breaking apart during grilling).Rub the blackened skin off the outside of the chiles, then pull out the stems and seed pods. Rinse briefly to remove stray seeds and bits of skin. Slice into 1/4-inch strips and stir into the onions. Taste the mixture and season it with salt, usually about 1/4 teaspoon. Keep warm in the oven.

Grilling the meat. Remove the steak from the marinade and gently shake off the excess. Oil the steak well on both sides, and lay it over the hottest part of the grill. Grill, turning once, until richly browned and done to your liking, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side for medium-rare.
Serving the tacos. Cut the long piece of skirt steak into 3- to 4-inch sections, then cut each section into thin strips across the grain (that is, in line with the full length of the skirt steak). Mix with the chiles and onions, season with a little salt and set on the table, along with the lime wedges and hot tortillas, for your guests to make into soft tacos.

Working Ahead: Thin steaks like skirt, taste best with a shorter tour in the marinade–1 to 8 hours. Leave them longer and the marinade flavor overpowers and saps the rosy color of the meat. The poblano-and-onion rajas can be made several hours ahead and left at room temperature; rewarm before serving. The steak must be grilled when you’re ready to eat.

From Mexico–One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless (Scribner 2000).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bo's Birthday Party

Venue: My Mom and Dad's

Attendees: My parents, sisters, Nonnie and D-Daddy, Leslie, Danny, Seth, Miska, and Mo

Dinner is served: Whole Hog BBQ

Dessert for the humans: Mom's Homemade Chocolate Pie

Dessert for the dogs: Bone Bday Cake for the dogs made by Just Dogs (sent some home for Bailey & Hunter)

Presents: Toys, toys, and more toys, treats, and a new dog bed - no more sleeping on ours - after all you are 1 now, Bo. Who are we fooling - you've still been in the bed some.

Bo's bday outfit: Birthday hat and bandanna from Napa - he didn't even flinch

Memorable Quote: "I think you're more excited about this birthday than that dog."