Happiness is: a hot dog fresh from the grill

05/07/2010 at 10:34 am | Posted in Good eats, Happiness is | 8 Comments

Weekend

04/25/2010 at 8:18 pm | Posted in Everything else, Good eats | 8 Comments

We did a little of this:

a little of that:

and squeezed in a visit to one of my favorite places to eat bacon*:

Hope your weekend was swell!


*Yes, I love the Cracker Barrel, even though it’s one of the most un-local, un-sustainable and un-organic places to eat EVER. But they bake a mean biscuit, and the bacon is always crispy. Finally. I’m out of the closet! Let the shit-giving begin.

Mangia!

04/10/2010 at 3:05 pm | Posted in Good eats | Leave a comment
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Apricot-glazed pork tenderloin = YUM

This is the ultimate go-to recipe. It’s quick, easy and really delicious. Also: fancy enough to serve to your mother-in-law.

I found it years ago in Everyday Food magazine and have made it so often I’ve pretty much got it memorized.

When I feel stonewalled by my weekly meal-planning ritual, which is, like, every week, I make this dish. Plain pork tenderloins usually come in two-packs, so I always cook one for the freezer. We usually shred it and toss it into stir fry. The recipe that keeps on giving. Cousin Eddie would be proud.

Mangia!

Mangia!

02/19/2010 at 3:06 pm | Posted in Good eats | 4 Comments
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You are going to LOVE me for this recipe. Seriously. I made these Molten Chocolate Mousse Cups for M on Valentine’s Day (chocolate is definitely the way to his heart), and they were dee-licious. And EASY to make, which is pretty much my only criteria for trying a new recipe.

My “technique” for separating eggs isn’t pretty, but it worked. Check it!

And, how much did I want to dive head-first into this vat of melting chocolate and butter? A LOT.

Beating the egg whites until “gentle peaks form” was exhausting. Even my baby-carrying arm got sore holding that mixer for so long. Yes, I used an electric mixer and it kicked my ass. Also: I am OUT OF SHAPE.

The recipe serves 12 (mini-cakes), so I cut it in half and ended up with four substantial servings. It was fun to finally use these cute wedding-gift ramekins for their intended purpose.

I let them bake a bit too long because the gooey center freaked me out a bit. A visit to the hospital with salmonella poisoning wasn’t my idea of a hot V-Day date. But the gooey center is kind of the point of the dish. Ah, well. They were still plenty moist and really good, especially warm from the oven.

Mangia!

Mangia!

02/05/2010 at 2:06 pm | Posted in Good eats | Leave a comment
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I’m cheating a bit with this week’s recipe because I have a birthday party to plan (which takes place tomorrow) and I’ve barely scratched the surface of all that needs to be done by tomorrow. Tomorrow! Have I mentioned the party is tomorrow?

But, let me assure you, this week’s recipe is awesome: Chicken with mustard mascarpone marsala sauce.

From what I could tell by watching my friend Laurie cook this dish during our beach weekend, it’s pretty easy to make. She substituted cream cheese for the mascarpone, and it was dee-licious. Giada would be proud.

Mangia!

Mangia!

01/15/2010 at 8:22 am | Posted in Good eats | Leave a comment
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What’s cookin’ this week?  Hearty beef stew.

I love my slow cooker. She gets lots of mileage during the winter. And, complemented by these awesome liners (no mess!) and fabulous cookbook, she produces some pretty amazing meals. I give her all the credit.

There’s nothing like beef stew and crusty bread to take the edge off a cold day.

Mangia!

Image via mccormick.com

Gather:
2 lbs. beef chuck, cubed
3 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ – ½ cup flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 ½ cups beef broth
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
4 carrots, sliced
2 onions, chopped
3 ribs celery, sliced
3 potatoes, chopped
Healthy slug of red wine

Cook:
1. Place meat in slow cooker.
2. Combine flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Stir into meat until coated thoroughly.
3. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well.
4. Cover. Cook on Low 10-12 hours or High 4-6 hours. Stir before serving.

Mangia!

12/18/2009 at 9:37 pm | Posted in Good eats | 1 Comment
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This week’s recipe comes from Laura, via Simply Recipes: Creamy sweet potato soup.

She makes it all the time, and it’s GOOD. Also plenty hearty. Makes a wonderful winter meal with some crusty bread and a salad.

Mangia!

Image via Simply Recipes

Gather:
2 Tbsp (1/4 stick) butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 small celery stalks, chopped
1 medium leek, sliced (white and pale green parts only)
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 1/2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Cook:
1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add chopped celery stalks and leek, sauté about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes.

2. Add sweet potatoes, chicken stock, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Remove cinnamon stick and discard. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to pot.

4. Add half and half and maple syrup and stir over medium-low heat to heat through. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 6 to 8.

Mangia!

12/06/2009 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Good eats | 5 Comments
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This week’s recipe: Oreo truffles. Also known as chocolate-covered crack.

These things are GOOD. And super easy to make. 

There are variations of this recipe online, but I always use one given to me by my friend Becky. She brought these in to work for our holiday party one year, and I almost ate the whole tray.

Yesterday, the Deputy and I had grand ambitions to bake up a storm of holiday goodies. We only managed to tackle two of our four recipes (thanks to “Elf,” pizza and champagne). But man, we’re proud of these Oreo truffles.

Mangia!

Gather:
1 package of Oreo cookies (1 lb. 2 oz)
1 8-oz package of cream cheese
2 8-oz packages of semi-sweet chocolate (we used Baker’s)

Cook:
1. Soften the cream cheese by microwaving it for 10 seconds.
2. Crush the cookies. We stuck them in two large ziplock bags and used a rolling pin. Fun.
3. Blend the crushed Oreos and cream cheese. We used a hand mixer, and the mixture ends up crumbly and sticky.
4. Shape the mixture into 42 one-inch balls, and stick them on wax-paper-covered trays in the fridge for an hour.
5. Use a double-boiler to melt the chocolate.
6. Dip the balls into the chocolate and place back onto the wax paper. I can’t emphasize enough how important WAX PAPER is. We ran out after one tray, so I had to pry half of our truffles off of the baking dish with a knife. Not pretty.
7. While the chocolate is still hot, sprinkle with any sort of decoration, like, well, sprinkles. Or cocoa. Mmm.
8. Store in a tightly-sealed container in the fridge.

Mangia!

11/20/2009 at 1:19 pm | Posted in Good eats | Leave a comment
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I’m breaking the rules a bit with this week’s recipe.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, I can’t help but share one of my all-time favorite treats. It’s not turkey or a side dish or dessert. Not really a meal at all (although I’ve given it serious thought).

It’s tart. It’s sweet. It’s Lindy’s lemon butter.

This recipe comes from a family friend who used to bring it to Thanksgiving dinner with her homemade banana bread. At first taste, I was in love. It’s like gravy for sweet breads.  

Mangia!

lemon butter

(image via finecooking.com)

Gather:
2 cups sugar
½ cup butter
3 eggs, beaten
½ cup water
3 lemons, juice and rind

Cook:
1.  Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs. Mix well.
2.  Squeeze juice from lemon. Use fine grater to remove lemon rind.
3.  Add lemon juice, grated lemon peel and water to mixture. Stir well.
4.  Cook in thick-bottom sauce pan on low heat until thick (about 10 minutes). Stir often.

Store in refrigerator.

Mangia!

11/13/2009 at 10:32 pm | Posted in Good eats | Leave a comment
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It’s time. I’ve been putting off this post all day because the recipe is SO long. But this dish is too good not to share. So the DVR will just have to wait.

Up this week: Brunswick Stew, from Southern Living’s “Cookbook Classics.” 

This is one of my favorite cold-weather meals. And you’ll have like 50 gallons left over to freeze. Hot corn bread makes a great side (Jiffy brand = cheap and easy).

Mangia!

(via SouthernLiving.com)

Gather:
8 skinned and boned chicken breast halves
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 Tbs. vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
3 (16-oz) cans tomatoes, undrained and chopped (I usually cheat and used diced tomatoes)
1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
¼ cup sugar
3 Tbs. white vinegar
2 Tbs. Worcestershire (I always add a few extra dashes)
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1 pound red potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 (16-oz)can pork and beans
1 Tbs. hot sauce (+ extra dashes for more kick)
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. pepper
1 (16-oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (16-oz) can lima beans, drained

Cook:
1. Place chicken in a large Dutch oven; add water to cover. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is tender.
2. Remove chicken from broth, reserving broth for another use. Let chicken cool. Chop chicken and set aside.
3. Cook onion and green pepper in hot oil in Dutch oven, stirring constantly. Add chicken, tomatoes and next 4 ingredients.
4. Combine flour and 1 cup water, stirring until smooth. Stir flour mixture into chicken mixture.
5. Add potato and next 5 ingredients; stir well. Cover and cook over medium heat 20 to 30 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally.
6. Add corn and lima beans, and cook 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. (Actual) yield: 4 quarts.

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