Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Peeps

I've loved seeing all the colorful peeps this month, and I love the way the traditional yellow stands out in this photo.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jim's Birthday Dinner

What a fun night last night was continuing the celebration of Jim! 

Menu:  Ribeye and New York Strip, Creamed Spinach, Baked Potatoes, and Strawberry Shortcake. 

My mom and I recreated Ruth Chris' Steakhouse Creamed Spinach Recipe. 

Here is the recipe:
SERVES 4
• 6 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup chopped onion
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 whole clove
• 2 cups fat free Horizon milk or whole milk any brand.
• 2 (10 ounce) bags ready-to-use fresh spinach

1. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add flour and stir until light golden, about 7 minutes.
3. Stir in onion, bay leaf and clove.
4. Gradually whisk in milk.
5. Whisk until mixture boils and thickens, about 10 minutes.
6. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes longer, whisking frequently (sauce will be very thick).
7. Remove bay leaf and whole clove.
8. Chop spinach in processor or wait till after cooked and drained if you prefer.
9. Cook spinach in large pot of boiling water just until wilted and tender, about 2 minutes.
10. Drain spinach in strainer and squeeze water out. Or transfer spinach to bowl filled with ice water to cool and drain well. Then roll up spinach in kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible then chop finely in processor.
11. Add spinach to warm sauce, simmer over low heat until spinach is heated through, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
12. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Celebrating Jim!

video

Today is Jim's birthday! Celebrating life is always important, and what better than birthdays to celebrate the life of those we love and greatly value! I'd enjoy celebrating all month, but Jim's kept me to a weekend of celebrating. And celebrate we have! We had dinner at favorite local spots every night, and Friday night my Mom, Dad, and Ashley joined!

Friday night: halibut, smoked gouda mac and cheese, mex caesar salad, and blueberry cobbler.
Saturday night: Indian cuisine: chicken tika masala, chicken shahi paneer, and garlic nan bread.
Sunday night: fried green tomatoes and crab - napoleon style, fish tacos, calamari, mushroom risotto, strawberry tres leche.

Tonight my parents and sisters are making a delicious steak & potato dinner for Jim. Looking forward to the continued celebrating!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grandmama


Our minds have been on my great grandmother today as she just had surgery at age 98 for a pacemaker. I've heard she did great! Which is no surprise - she is quite a women and quite a grandmother! She is no normal 98 year old.  She continues to educate me on all the newest and hippest spots in town, and everywhere we go we it seems she is known and loved by all.  I cherish ever second we have together. She laughs when she tells me, "I was just praying the good Lord would let me see you graduate kindergarten and here I've seen you get married."   

Suzanne

Garlic & Parsley Fries

What You Need:
Butter - half a stick of unsalted
1 tsp salt
1 tbs. of fresh Italian Parsley - chopped
4 garlic cloves minced
¼  tsp pepper
2 Russet potatoes (as our Nonnie says - they just work better for french fries)


What you Do:
Cut Russet potatoes.  We like ours thin, but not too long.  Get your grease to the right tempertaure for frying, and fry your potatoes.  Keep warm in a warming draw.  Melt the butter in a skillet.  Saute your garlic in the melted butter.  Add your salt and pepper.  Dump your fries in a mixing bowl and pour the garlic sauce on top of fries.  Add the chopped parsley.  Put a plate on top of the bowl and shake.  And there you have it!  Serves 2.  Recipe inspired by Taylor's Refreshers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Philly Cheesesteak Night

In Philly or anywhere a Philly Cheesesteaks when cooked right is a meal we enjoy!  Although we don't like ours with the tradition "whiz."  Ah, but you know what they say, "When in Rome..."  Pat's or Geno's are famous, but the line is always too long for me.  Jim's is famous but not near as crowded.  There is a little place across from the historic Christ Church I like, but I can't remember the name.

Tonight we are going to make the Philly sandwiches and garlic parsley fries. 

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse
Prep Time:10 min
Cook Time:10 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 2 sandwiches

Ingredients
• 2 fresh Italian sandwich rolls/kaiser buns, split in half crosswise
• 1 white onion, thinly sliced
• 1/2 large green bell pepper, thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/2 pound rib-eye steak, very very thinly shaved or sliced or strip sir loin
• 1/3 pound thinly sliced white American cheese, or Provolone cheese OR 4 ounces melted cheese whiz
• Italian pickled peppers, accompaniment
• Mushrooms – sautéed optional

Directions
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Heat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. When hot add the oil, onions and bell peppers, and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Push off to 1 side of the griddle.

Add the meat to the hot pan and cook, stirring and breaking up with the back of 2 metal spatulas, until almost no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Mix in the Sauteed vegetables. Top with cheese slices and melt. Spoon the cheesy meat mixture into the warm buns and serve immediately with condiments of choice or Put the meat in the bun and dip the spatula in the cheese whiz and then wipe the spatula down the inside of the bread.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chicken Dopiaza (Chicken and Onion Curry)

4 large sweet onions,  preferably Walla Walla
6 cloves garlic
1 1 1⁄2" piece ginger, peeled
7 tbsp. canola oil
5 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. ground cumin 

1⁄2 tsp. ground turmeric 

1⁄2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1⁄4 cup yogurt 

6 whole, peeled canned tomatoes,
drained and crushed

1 3–4-lb. chicken, cut into 6–8 pieces,
skin removed
Kosher salt, to taste
1⁄2 tsp. garam masala 

1 tbsp. chopped cilantro

3 serrano chiles, quartered
Cooked basmati rice, for serving

1. Roughly chop 2 onions; put into a food processor with garlic and ginger. Process to a paste; set aside. Thinly slice remaining onions; set aside.

2. Heat oil in an 8-qt. pot over medium-high heat; add sliced onions and cook, stirring often, until well browned, 18–20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer onions to a bowl. Add reserved onion–garlic paste to pot; cook, stirring, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Add tomato paste, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne; cook until paste is browned, 1–2 minutes. Add yogurt, tomatoes, and chicken and season with salt; cook, stirring, until browned, 3–4 minutes. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is fully cooked, about 20 minutes.

3. Increase heat to medium-high, uncover, add sautéed onions and garam masala, and cook, stirring, until sauce thickens slightly, about 8 minutes. Stir in cilantro and chiles and serve with rice.

SERVES 6

This article was first published in Saveur, March 2010.

Green Beans With Sesame Sauce

Green Beans with Sesame Sauce
1⁄2 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1⁄4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp. sugar
Kosher salt, to taste
1 lb. green beans, trimmed
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. finely chopped scallions
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger

1. In a spice grinder or a mortar, finely grind 6 tbsp. sesame seeds. Transfer to a small food processor. Add remaining sesame seeds, soy sauce, and sugar; process into a paste. Set aside.


2. Bring an 8-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add beans; cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beans to a large bowl of ice water; let chill. Drain and dry beans. Whisk vinegar, scallions, and ginger with reserved sesame paste in a bowl; add beans and toss.

SERVES 6
From The March Issue of  Saveur.

A Rendition Of Romano's Macaroni Grill's Penne Rustica

My sisters and I always enjoyed this dish.  The secret ingredient for us was asiago cheese. 

Prep Work:
Grill 2 pds – 4 breast of Chicken. 4 mins each side on med/high heat.
Put on a plate and cover with foil – set aside.
Put water in a pot to boil and put on high heat.
Start making Gratinata Sauce

Gratinata Sauce:
2 tbs. butter
3 large garlic cloves and 2 small or 4 large cloves
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. of chopped rosemary
1 cup marsala wine
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 cups heavy cream or 1 quart

In a large pan Saute butter, garlic, and rosemary on med heat until garlic begins to brown. Add marsala wine and reduce by 1/3. Add remaining ingredients and reduce the sauce a bit – 8 mins on med heat. After reduced to taste - set aside on very low heat.

Cut Chicken in strips or bites and set aside.

Penne Rustica:
1 ounce pancetta or bacon
2 pds. Chicken
Granita Sauce
1 box of Penne Pasta – Barilla or De Cecco
6 tbs. of butter
1 small shallot
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese - substitute asiago cheese
Sprigs of Rosemary for garnish

Pour pasta into boiling water cook 10 mins.

While pasta is cooking - in a sauté pan saute pancetta over med/low heat until it begins to brown - turning – about 5 mins. Add butter and shallots. Cook another 2 mins. Put into sauce and add chicken. Turn on low.

Drain Pasta. Put pasta back into the big pot. Pour sauce/chicken on top and add the shredded cheese and stir. Serve on plates garnished with sprig of rosemary.

Optional: Put in a casserole dish and another ½ cup of cheese on top and bake for 5 - 8 mins at 375.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top Of The Mornin' To Ya!

St. Patrick's Day
An enchanted time
A day to begin transforming
Winter's dreams Into Summer's magic.
~ Adrienne Cook




Success attend St. Patrick,
For he's a saint so clever;
He gave the snakes a twist,
And bothered them forever!
~Henry Bennett




The red rose may be fair,
And the lily statelier;
But my shamrock,
One in three
Takes the very heart of me!
~Katherine Tynan

St. Patrick was a gentleman
Who came of decent people;
He built a church
In Dublin town,
And on it put a steeple.
~Henry Bennett



When Irish eyes are smiling,
'Tis like a morn in spring.
With a lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
~Author Unknown



HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Think Pink!


This weekend I attended three baby showers honoring expectant mom's all expecting girls! I especially enjoyed hosting one of these at my home. Getting things ready, seeing dear friends, celebrating this special time in the life of close friends - it's hard to get any better! Below are some photos from the shower at my house honoring Lyndsey as she prepares for the arrival of Amelia Elanie.....
Rach, Suzanne, Laura
Rachel and Lyndsey

Tip Of The Day For Ya.....

I hosted a baby shower at my house for a life long friend, Lyndsey, this past weekend.  I wanted the pink long stem roses to open a bit for the event.  My sister in law, Lesley, took a course on flower arranging, and she told me just what to do.






1.)  Cut the ends of each stem in a diagnol cut
2.)  Put the packaged food in a vase
3.)  Pour hot water in the vase on top of the flower food
4.)  Put the flowers in the vase

The result: perfection!  Thanks, Les!


Photos From The Fun Day:
Natalie, Rachel, Lyndsey, Suzanne, & Laura

Hostesses
Charlotte, Carol, Rachel, Lyndsey, Suzanne, Cheri, Laura

Suzanne, Ashlyn, Kambry

Laura Kate, Marieca, Lyndsey


Cindy, Lyndsey, Natalie

A & Pink for precious baby girl Amelia

Dress all the way from Japan from Rachel.
It's like one Lyndsey and I have from our trip to China.

Sweet Elijah our dear friend Julie's baby boy

Friday, March 12, 2010

Brown Eggs and Rhode Island Reds



We've been enjoying fresh brown eggs from our friend Sharron's chicken's. These eggs inspired our Nonnie to tell us about the Rhode Island Reds her mom had at one time.  Nonnie's mom whom we called, Little Maw-Maw, said those brown eggs laid by those Reds were the best!

Here's some basic history on the Rhode Island Red:

It's a striking, docile bird with a regal personality along with superb commercial quality eggs and meat, as well as an ideal backyard bird. The origin of the breed dates back to a fowl bred in Rhode Island in the mid 1800s; hence the name of the breed. According to most accounts, the breed was developed by crossing Red Malay Game, Leghorn and Asiatic stock.

Easy - Cheesy - Creamy Gorgonzola Pasta

I found this recipe in our "Pasta" cookbook, and made my own version of it. It was the ultimate yummy comfort food which was most enjoyed last night.

What You Need:
1 pint (2 cups) of whipping cream
1 box of farfalle (bowtie pasta)
pinch of sugar
salt
pepper
1 block of gorgonzola (is a veined Italian blue cheese) *
1 ounce of pancetta (sliced thin but not too thin) (a type of dry cured meat, similar to bacon.) **
3 mushroom asiago chicken sausages
3 tsp of sage


What You Do:
Boil water with olive oil and a pinch of salt in an 8 quart pot then add farfalle and cook 8 - 11 mins. (check at 8) - you want the pasta al dente. (Italian expression describing pasta having been cooked so as to be firm but not hard.)

In a separate medium sauce pan combine whipping cream and cut up squares of the gorgonzola plus a pinch of sugar. Stirring often on med/high heat - melt all the gorgonzola. Then put on a med/low heat. Add a good amount of pepper to taste.

In a small fry pan fry the pancetta. (5 - 7 mins.) And on the grill cook your sausage till it's almost finished - leaving a minute left of cooking in the sauce.

Be sure to watch your pasta. Drain when finished and put it back in the pan with a little bit of olive oil. Pour in sauce, add cooked pancetta, sausage, and a little more pepper for good measure. Top with sage - stir and cover for one minute.

Put in bowls - serves 4.  (We served this with a basic spinach salad).

A meal under $20. It helps to do this with someone - such fun and very simple. This dish takes creamy pasta sauce to a whole new level. Love the flavor that blue cheese gives this meal.


*The name comes from Gorgonzola, a small town near Milan, Italy, where, it is reported, the cheese was first made in 879; however, this claim of geographical origin is disputed by other towns. Gorgonzola is made in the regions of Piedmont and Lombardy from whole cow's milk.

**It is pork belly that has been salt cured and spiced, and dried for about three months (usually not smoked). There are many varieties, and in Italy each region produces its own type.

Definitions from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Breakfast

According to Webmd there are many benefits to breakfast. The right breakfast foods can not only help give you energy to start your day, but it can also help you concentrate, give you strength – even help you maintain a healthy weight. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. I wished I could say I ate breakfast everyday; I try and when I do it's healthy.

But when the weekend comes it's indulging and fun!  Below are some of our favorite weekend breakfast meals. And sometimes it's even fun to mix things up and do breakfast for dinner. Basically we like to do pancakes or eggs (with sauted garlic/onion) and bacon on the weekend.  Our friend Sharron brings us fresh eggs from her chickens and we always enjoy those!

We do silver dollar pancakes in honor of "Grandma B."  It's what she would make for Jim and the grandkids growing up. My Dad used to make me and my sisters Bacon Egg Sandwiches (always cutting the crust off) - it was our thing, and we'd enjoy them as the sun was shining on us on the deck in our backyard. 

Sweet times - special memories!


Father Glenn joing us for breakfast


Silverdollar Pancake Recipe from the Joy Of Cooking 
sometimes we add blueberries, bananas, some type of fruit.

Bo's Pancake