Tag Archives: food

I Think I’m Turning Japanese? No, I Think I’m Turning French…

23 Jun

Well, at least that’s what I’ve been trying to do for the last week. I don’t know, you hear one Diana Krall song and you fall hopelessly end over end into the abyss that is french cafe`…

Allow me to elaborate.

Example One:

I made home-made Demi Glace`

Which requires also making Espagnole sauce…

Takes three hours, mind you…

Example Two:

Then, I took the Demi glace and made these delicious, tender little spare ribs with whipped potatoes, nothing better…

Example Three:

Wine

What more can I say? Even has a house on the label, and I’ve heard wine with a house means it’s good 😉

Example Four:

Diana Krall

 

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A Chocolate Mousse Kind of Afternoon…

10 May

I love chocolate mousse, and what I love even better is home-made chocolate mousse. It’s a wonder I still venture to eat it after the butter and cream that goes into it, but when you’re looking to indulge, why not? Besides, it’s not like I’m going to saddle up to the whole bowl!

I was at the grocery store and saw that Jello came out with the fake-sugar, 60-calorie, B.S., plastic cups of chocolate mousse, and let me just say, what’s the point??

For me it’s all about the experience! A fancy glass, a good show on tv, and a tiny, tiny spoon (or cookie!) to eat it with…

Here’s my favorite recipe:

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Courtesy Bobby Flay

Ingredients

5 1/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

14 ounces cold heavy cream

3 large egg whites

1-ounce sugar

Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish, optional

Shaved bittersweet chocolate, for garnish, optional

Directions

Place chocolate in a large bowl set over a bain marie or in a double boiler at a low simmer. Stir chocolate until melted. Turn off the heat and let stand.

Beat the cream over ice until it forms soft peaks. Set aside and hold at room temperature. With a mixer, whip egg to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until firm.

Remove the chocolate from the bain marie and using a whisk, fold in the egg whites all at once. When the whites are almost completely incorporated, fold in the whipped cream. Cover the mousse and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour or until set. Serve in goblets topped with more whipped cream and shaved chocolate, if desired.

Triple Crown: Kentucky Derby Saturday!

30 Apr

Well, here we are, my favorite race fo the Triple Crown! I love horse races, and I have since I was really young.

Horse racing is a sport steeped in tradition and history. It’s a blue-blood celebration of good breeding, strength and speed. I grew up riding jumpers, and a few of the horses I rode were once race horses. It’s amazing the kind of heart these thoroughbreds have!

A lot of people give it flack, but horses love to run, and when it’s the Kentucky Derby we’re talking about, those horses are treated like kings!

I’m hosting a Derby party (small, tiny one) this Saturday. I’d love to cook something like this:

Kentucky Hot Browns

Courtesy Bobby Flay

Ingredients

♥ Egg-battered Bread, recipe follows
♥ Maple-Bourbon Roast Turkey Breast, recipe follows, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
♥ Cheese Sauce, recipe follows
♥ 1 cup grated sharp white Cheddar
♥ 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
♥ 8 (1/4-inch) thick slices ripe tomato (from 2 tomatoes), sauteed until lightly browned
♥ 8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
♥ Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Directions

Preheat broiler.

Place the egg bread on a baking sheet, place under the broiler, and heat on both sides for 20 seconds just to warm through.

Top each slice of bread with 2 to 3 slices of turkey, ladle sauce over the top, and divide the Cheddar and Parmesan over the top of each slice. Place under the broiler and cook until bubbly and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and top each slice with 2 slices tomato and 2 slices of bacon. Sprinkle each slice with parsley and serve immediately, 2 open-face sandwiches per person.

Egg-battered Bread:

♥ 4 large eggs
♥ 1/4 cup milk
♥ Salt
♥ 8 (1/2-inch thick) slices 1 day-old white bread, such as Pullman or Pain de mie
♥ 4 tablespoons butter
♥ 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt in a medium bowl. Dip each slice of bread in the mixture and let sit about 30 seconds, or until completely soaked through.
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook 4 slices of the bread at a time until golden brown on both sides. Remove and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining butter, oil, and bread.

Maple-Bourbon Roast Turkey Breast:

♥ 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
♥ 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
♥ 2 tablespoons bourbon
♥ Salt and freshly ground black pepper
♥ 1 (4 to 5-pound) turkey breast
♥ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
♥ Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Whisk together syrup, mustard, and bourbon in a small bowl and season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Set glaze aside.

Rub entire turkey breast with butter and season with salt and pepper. Place in a small roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and continue roasting until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 155 degrees F, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. During the last 15 minutes of roasting, brush the breast with the glaze. Remove from the oven, loosely tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Cheese Sauce:

♥ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
♥ 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
♥ 2 1/2 cups whole milk
♥ 3/4 cup grated sharp white Cheddar
♥ 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
♥ Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
♥ Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, bring to a boil and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and the flour has cooked out, about 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in cheese and cook until melted. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper, to taste.

But then again… I was supposed to be on a diet! But it doesn’t mean that I can’t make a slimmed down version! Egg beaters, low fat cheese, leaner meats…

It’s do-able!

Then of course you can’t forget these!

Mint Julep

Ingredients

♥ 2 cups water
♥ 2 cups white sugar
♥ 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
♥ 32 fluid ounces Kentucky bourbon
♥ 8 sprigs fresh mint leaves for garnish

Directions

Combine water, sugar and chopped mint leaves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow syrup to cool, approximately 1 hour. Pour syrup through a strainer to remove mint leaves

Fill eight cups or frozen goblets with crushed ice and pour 4 ounces of bourbon and 1/4 cup mint syrup in each. (Proportions can be adjusted depending on each person’s sweet tooth). Top each cup with a mint sprig and a straw. Trim straws to just barely protrude from the top of the cups. Serve juleps on a silver platter.
 

 

And may the best horse win!

 

Talking About a Place I’ve Never Been…

6 Apr

It’s okay to dream, right? Well I do. Not that I dream of drive-ins, but I do like to set my books in places I’ve never been, especially when I then go there later. I love to research. What can I say?

This is Vicco’s Charburger in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

In my book, the second Knight Angels book, I am going to have a scene here for a first date. It’s cute, that sweet drive-in date feel. I love Colorado, and to think, I’ve only been in the airport. One day I will move to Colorado, so for now I am reduced to writing about it.

…and dreaming of really good burgers at cute drive ins…

I just hope I do the town justice, and I don’t screw up. If you’re from Glenwood and read my book, let me know how I do. If I screw up, I’ll change it!

Mmmm… burgers. Guess I’ll have to settle for sushi today, though.

e-books now universally available from:

Wednesday Meatloaf

31 Mar
What’s better than a little meat loaf?
NOTHING!
Especially when it’s not your typical meatloaf…
I like to cook with turkey as much as I can get away with (my husband LOVES beef).
SO I went to my favorite chef for answers, and she never fails to deliver something good!

Giada’s Pancetta and Turkey Meatloaf

Ingredients
1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup grated Romano
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat
10 ounces sliced pancetta, about 10 slices
Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat.
On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, lay out the pancetta, overlapping the slices, into a large rectangle shape. In the middle of the rectangle, place the turkey mixture, shaping into a loaf. Using the parchment paper, wrap the pancetta up and around the turkey loaf to cover completely. Squeeze the parchment-covered loaf with your hands to secure the pancetta and solidify the shape of the loaf. While still covered in parchment, bake the loaf until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Giada makes sandwiches out of it, but I like it just the way it is with a little Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. Why ruin it with Mayonaise and bread? Heck no!
I love the way it looks, too. The Panchetta makes a cool latticed pattern across the top, definately a good way to impress guests with somethin’ saucy!

Thirsty Thursday: Champagne, Croutons, and The Walrus

11 Mar
French Champagne that isn’t French?
 
I know what you’re thinking – Champagne is only Champagne when it comes from the Champagne region of France…
 
Well that’s true, but when considering this sparkling wine, it’s fun to pretend.
 
 
This sparkling wine comes from Karma Canyon Vinyards on the shores of Lake Chelan (up the street from my parents house, too!) The unique way they make the sparkling wine is facinating. They ferment it in the bottles on these racks, seen in the image above. This is a classic French tecnique, or so they tell me…
 
 
The winemaker is also trained in France, making it even better! And more French-ish. It was sweet, light, and super bubbly! So bubbly in fact, that I could only fill the glass halfway before it ‘boiled’ over.
 
 
I had this with my homemade croutons last night, so good! (recipe below)
 

Home-made Herb Croutons!

So I’ve had this loaf of bread kickin’ around my kitchen for a while now… Stale, old, perfect.

My husband and I enjoy going to this local pub where they make the most amazing and simple salad of cucumber, croutons, marinated onions and ranch dressing. I wanted to recreate that at home (especially since that simple salad cost a not so simple $6)

It’s really easy to do, and you can make a whole pile for the week!

INGREDIENTS
 
One Loaf Italian, Peasant, or Ciabatta Bread

 
Four to Five Tablespoons Olive Oil

 
1tsp. Italian Seasoning

 
1tsp. Dried Basil Seasoning

 
1/2tsp. Garlic Powder

 
Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS

Cube the bread into one inch chunks and put in a large bowl. Drizzle with two tablespoons of the oil and toss. Drizzle the rest and toss again. sprinkle with sesonings and toss a third time until all the bread looks evently coated with seasoning and oil. Pour bread onto a baking sheet and season with a little salt and pepper. Place in a 400 degree oven. Toast for 6 minutes then remove and toss bread. Toast for another 6-8 minutes depending on the crunch you want. I like a medium chewy crunch so I do 6.

Add to your favorite salad or eat right off the pan! Either way, it’s perfect!

looking for some mome-made Marinated Onions? That’s easy as well.

Slice one red onion and put in a ziplock bag. cover with a cup and a half of red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. sugar, salt and pepper, and seal bag. Let sit for at least 30 minutes but it’s best if left overnight… YUM!!!

 
 
The Walrus and The Carpenter
Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)
  
The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright–
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.
The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done–
“It’s very rude of him,” she said,
“To come and spoil the fun!”
The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead–
There were no birds to fly.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
“If this were only cleared away,”
They said, “it would be grand!”
“If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
“That they could get it clear?”
“I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.
“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.”
The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head–
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.
But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat–
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn’t any feet.
Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more–
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
“Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!”
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
“Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed–
Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.”
“But not on us!” the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
“After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!”
“The night is fine,” the Walrus said.
“Do you admire the view?
“It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf–
I’ve had to ask you twice!”
“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
“To play them such a trick,
After we’ve brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“The butter’s spread too thick!”
“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

Manic Monday: Pork Ribs, Baseball, and Shel Silverstein!

8 Mar

Just Another Manic Monday…

Yep, it is. I had a rather jam packed weekend. I went to four baseball games (my goal is to attend all WSU home baseball games this year.) and got lots of sun! Well, not the type of sun that makes us TAN, but the type that gives you lots of happy happy vitamin D. I have very fair skin, and unless I wear SPF fifty, I may as well be a potato chip.

Good news is that we also won three of four games against Utah. YAY!

Put Some Meat On Those Ribs!

Saturday night I had some AWESOME ribs. It was an easy recipe, and I think you all need to try it. I let them bake while I was at the baseball game, very convenient!

Alton Brown’s
Who Loves Ya Baby-Back?
rib recipe
INGREDIENTS
 
 2 whole slabs pork baby back ribs 
  
Dry Rub:
 
 8 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
 3 tablespoons kosher salt
 1 tablespoon chili powder
 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon jalapeno seasoning
(he says that if you don’t have this, no worries)
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon rubbed thyme
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
 
Braising Liquid:
 
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 
 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic, chopped
  
DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Place each slab of baby back ribs on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side down. Sprinkle each side generously with the dry rub. Pat the dry rub into the meat. Refrigerate the ribs for a minimum of 1 hour. In a microwavable container, combine all ingredients for the braising liquid. Microwave on high for 1 minute.

 Place the ribs on a baking sheet. Open one end of the foil on each slab and pour half of the braising liquid into each foil packet. Tilt the baking sheet in order to equally distribute the braising liquid. Braise the ribs in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.

 Transfer the braising liquid into a medium saucepot. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce by half or until of a thick syrup consistency. Brush the glaze onto the ribs. Place under the broiler just until the glaze caramelizes lightly. Slice each slab into 2 rib bone portions. Place the remaining hot glaze into a bowl and toss the rib portions in the glaze.

And Finally, a Poem To Get Ya Going this Fine Monday!

 
Where the Sidewalk Ends
 
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.
Shel Silverstein