Thursday, December 31, 2009

First two courses done!

First, the chimichurri sauce:

Then, the dippers for the cheese course:

Then, the broth fondue:

Update with pics

Here is the filtered broth:

I prepped the mushroom caps, and am going to prep some more of the veggie and fruit dippers.

More prep

I diced the farm raised chorizo style beef sausage. I did it while it was still a little frozen, which made it easier. I stuck it in the fridge. I am going to saute it with sliced poblanos, chopped onions and diced garlic, and am going to add it (with a Corona beer) to Monterrey Jack cheese. Picky's mom has agreed to make fresh tortilla chips. I will also cut up fresh celery and apples.

New Year's Eve!

I am party planning, again! New Year's Eve!

We will be having a three course fondue meal with the kids and Picky's folks.

First course: Monterrey Jack cheese with chorizo and poblano peppers, with corona mixed in. Dippers: homemade tortilla chips, celery, apples

Second course: a Court Bouillon broth, mojo style. I am making the broth custom now:

For both of these courses, I am going to be rubbing down the fondue pot with a sliced garlic clove or two. To simmer in the broth, we will have filet mignon, chicken breast, shrimp and mushroom caps. I will be making some sauces: teriyaki (store bought), a curry sauce, and chimichurri. Maybe some drawn butter for the shrimp, since I love drawn butter.

And, the of course course, the dessert: chocolate. I am using Ghiradhelli bittersweet chocolate, heavy cream, and maybe a dash of Godiva liqueur. Dippers: pound cake, strawberries, bananas, and fingers!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Woo hoo! The best day of the year is here!

OK, forcing myself to post. I was so disappointed when I saw I didn't post at all last year.

The location for the event: my mom's newly (finally!) redecorated house.

The attendees: Everyone! My mom, both brothers, both their wives, one of their sons, one of their sets of in laws, my husband and two kids, and my in laws. Oh, and me! By last count, that's 14.

The meal: I am making the brunt of it, with help from my lovely sister in law, and presumably my mom, but she prefers to wander off and play with the grandkids most days. Which is fine, since I have serious cooking to do and can't be expected to do any serious kid wrangling!

The prep:

We have two 13 pound turkeys in my mom's fridge. I went yesterday and dry salted one of them. The other wasn't fully defrosted, so I did a wet brine with salt and sugar. My mom was supposed to drain, rinse, and pat dry that one this morning, and put it back in the fridge to try to dry out the skin a little.

The turkeys will be made in my mom's fancy new Viking stove. Even though she has the fresh new set up, I like my tools and my kitchen. Her kitchen is sparkly new and remarkably free of basic pantry items and useful hardware. So, I tried to do a lot of the prep yesterday. And, it'll save me stress over certain items that tend to be a pain the day of: namely, desserts.

So, last night I made this lovely looking English toffee pecan pie. If it got a blue ribbon from Martha, it's got to be good, amirite? It wasn't the Martha vote that got me, actually. My mom loves toffee and pecan pie, so I kind of had to make it once I stumbled across the recipe.

I prepped and chilled the pumpkin creme brulee to be. I hate it when I am rushed to chill it adequately, and end up juggling things in the freezer on a special occasion, desperately trying to chill it so the brulee-ing process doesn't heat it up again.

I made kale and pancetta. We will also be having green beans with persimmons and pancetta, and one of the turkeys will have salt pork draped over it for some of the cooking. So, definitely not a kosher or vegetarian friendly meal!

Oh, and speaking of more pork, I browned the sage sausage, and used the drippings to cook a B-52's Chrysler load of celery and onions for the stuffings. I also sliced the bread and let it get stale.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I want this book!

My friends at Home-Ec 101 are giving away the book Notes on Cooking: A Short Guide to an Essential Craft. I loves food science!

Wish me luck.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Frenchees and bisque

I made the most evil sandwiches the other night, based on a recipe from Cook's Country. They are called "Frenchees", and involve taking sandwiches made with white bread, mayonnaise and American cheese, coating them with cracker crumbs and frying them. Uhh, evil.

I tried to balance it out by serving them with shrimp bisque. That's classy enough, right?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Experimental salmon

I usually like salmon with a fruit based or sweet sauce. I love it with mango salsa or with a honey soy sauce. But, I bought a lot of gorgeous diary products from an organic farm, and decided to try something inspired by this recipe.

I have a beautiful Coho salmon fillet. I mixed herbed garlic goat cheese, chili stone ground mustard, mayonnaise, chopped green onions and parsley. Let's see how it turns out.

Review: I thought it was delicious. The topping was gently browned on top and very pretty. And I used to think baked salmon with cheese was a major no-no. Picky scraped off most of the topping and said he only liked a little coating of it. Z liked it. Both S and Picky say they like the honey soy mustard sauce better.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Already excited about Thansgiving

SQUEEEEEEEEEEE!!! I am hosting Thanksgiving at my house!!

I am already getting excited about it. I may go buy this today.

I would love to buy this. I neither need it nor can afford it, but I love to go to the Le Creuset outlet store and lust at it. I may be only going to buy the gravy boat today so I can get a look at the braiser.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chocolate zucchini muffins

I am praying my zucchini, which has languished in my fridge for a week while I started my new fellowship, is still good. I am making chocolate zucchini muffins. This recipe is fantastic and I have used it before. I am so happy I found it again! I think it's almost healthy, since it has equal amounts of zucchini and sugar.

In fact, if I ever had a food business or a cooking show, I would call it "Almost Healthy." Somehow, I don't think that would work for a medical practice.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Food food food

I have been cooking a lot lately, and it's been a lot of fun.

I am party planning (again). We are hosting a medium-sized pre-Independence Day dinner party tomorrow. I invited five couples over. (I originally called it a small dinner party, but I guess it's kind of relative what size it is.)

So, far, it will be a mostly Latin themed menu. I am planning on making grilled skirt steak with chimichurri, mojo style chicken drumettes, and lime garlic shrimp, also on the grill.

I am also going to make two salads on the side, a green salad with tomatoes and red onion, and a "white" salad with marinated mushrooms, chick peas, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, olives, and minimal green elements. I want to add roasted red peppers to it, but I have a friend who is sensitive to nightshades who may be attending, so I may leave those out.

I have a friend who will help tend bar by making mojitos.

I am trying to not buy too much extra stuff, since money is tight. I have one friend bringing dessert, a trifle with chocolate and kahlua that I am really looking forward to. I heavily hinted towards cheese-y appetizers. I hope we get some. I kind of want to go buy some anyway, because I am that kind of a hostess.

We will be attending 3 (3!!) 4th of July parties on Saturday. Two of them specifically ask for people to bring side dishes or beverages. Picky is pushing me to bring bottles of wine. I was thinking of making extra white salad. He doesn't really consume either.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Farmer's market deliciousness

I am making tomato pie with beautiful fresh tomatoes. I stuck to the recipe pretty closely, except for putting in three times the bacon. Uh, yeah, I went there. I made it before and it was scrumptious, but there is a reason why our adopted family name is the baconderfers.

I am making garlic scapes on the side. They are so cool. I woke up dreaming about them this morning, and they were actually at the farmer's market! They are only there for a limited time each year. I must have felt their call.

I will be back with pictures.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

F'ed up fish n chips

I was making fish n chips with frozen bake em in the oven curly fries and tilapia I was chopping into chunks and battering myself. Well, I got the huge pot of oil going, and then realized I didn't have the cornstarch called for in the recipe.

I was annoyed from tearing apart the pantry for forever, so I quickly mixed together the dry ingredients, adding extra flour to replace the cornstarch, and poured the beer in.

Well, the recipe said I was supposed to reserve some of the flour and dust the pieces after I battered them. With thinner batter that had cornstarch. Somehow it turned out awesome.

Yum. Crunch. Evil.

click to embiggen the blurry photo. Sorry, I was eating when I took it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Can I haz cheeseburger?

Heather from Home Ec 101 was asking about convenience foods. I think I found the scariest one.

Canned, entire cheeseburger. With bun, lettuce, tomato included. And a year shelf life.


Friday, April 24, 2009

A little twist with a peel

Ha, wow. My puns are as bad as my photography.

We had some orange marmalade that was a little tart for us to handle on toast. I have a dinner I call the 3 P's dinner (I can't believe I have never posted it here) that involves pork (usually country ribs), pineapples (usually fresh precut but canned will work in a pinch, and you may certainly choose to wrestle a whole one), and peppers (usually fresh sweet mini peppers but yellow and orange bell peppers work beautifully.)

Anyway, I am trying a twist on that recipe tonight.

I browned salt and peppered country ribs in a big pan with a few glugs of olive oil. I added chopped onions, and peppers. In a pot, a put I about a cup of pineapple juice (left over from the inauguration party) and most of a jar of orange marmalade with lovely slivers of orange peel. I added a scant half a cup of sugar. That reduced at a lively simmer into a syrup while the pork browned.

I poured the syrup on the pork after the pork browned on all sides. I added a bunch of minced garlic and chopped fresh basil.

Wish me luck. I may post reviews and pics.


It was a tasty, huge success. The schmutz of onions, peppers, garlic, basil and onion peel was scrumptious.

And as for the review, S suggested I take an "after" photo:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter supper

I am making ham steaks with sage tangerine glaze and baby carrots, based on this recipe but quickie style. Hope it works!

I am also making macaroni and cheese and green beans. Yum!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sundae and cupcakes planning

Yellow and chocolate cake cupcakes (Homemade)
Cream cheese and chocolate frosting (Homemade)
Decorating icing
Various sprinkles
Mini gummi bears
Mini M n Ms
Shredded coconut
Chopped nuts
Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream
Hot fudge topping
Caramel topping
Marshmallow topping
Whipped cream (store bought)


Now to make a shopping list.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Party planning

I am planning a build your own party for Sebby's 10th birthday. Build your own pizza, build your own nachos, build your own cupcakes, and build your own ice cream. I am making decisions right now as to what I am going to cook from scratch and what I am going to make.

I am thinking I will get the premade pizza crusts, and not make my own. I struggled to come to this decision, but I think I can live with not making pizza dough from scratch. I know it would be tasty to do that and make it on the new charcoal grill that I have fallen in love with. But, I don't have to do that for twenty ten year olds. I will do that for the family some time. I will chop up all the toppings (OK, I may buy presliced olives and mushrooms). I will buy commercial sauce and preshredded mozzarella and Italian cheese mixes. I'm (gasp! shudder!) going semi homemade. I am buying the tortilla chips, not frying my own. Too messy. Too many kids. I love it when my mother in law fries her own, but I am not going to do it.

Sebby has specifically requested ham and pineapple so he can make so called "Hawaiian style" pizza. I will have toppings that can go on nachos or pizza on one table. Here is a list (I am using this for planning, so this may get edited):

Italian Cheese Mix
Mexican Cheese Mix
Pineapple (Can go on ice cream too, I suppose)
Banana peppers
Chopped up tomatoes
Refried beans
Ground meat (w/ chili powder in it)
onions (in rings and chopped)
Shredded lettuce
Hot sauce
Mini sweet pepper rings
Sour cream

OK, I will be back with toppings for sundaes and cupcakes.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Venison stew and a new piece of hardware!

Picky bought me a beautiful Le Creuset oval French oven in flame, to match my collection.

I am supposed to be studying, so I decided to stall by making venison stew. My wonderful, generous hunter neighbor shared some wild boar and some venison shoulder with us. I roasted the boar shoulder intact, but I boned the two venison shoulders, and decided to try to make a stew.

I pieced together some recipes and this is what I ended up with. Pictures and a review to come. Right now it is just stinking up the house with lovely smells.

I put a few T of oil in the French oven (any heavy lidded oven safe pot will do)
I made a roux with some flour (next time I may wait to add the flour)
I added the cubed venison and browned it
I added two onions, thinly julienned, let it cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally
Added about a cup of chopped carrots and three stalks of celery, chopped, and cooked a few more minutes
I added two cups of red wine, two cups of chicken stock (I would have used beef if I had it) and two cups of water. I scraped the lovely brown bits with a wooden spoon
I added a few T of concentrated tomato paste, a few springs of thyme, and four peeled, whole garlic cloves
I let the whole thing come to a boil, and put it in a 300 degree oven with the lid on for two hours
I am making egg noodles to spoon it over. Hope it's a hit!

Edited to add: It was a big hit. Dee-licious. It wasn't especially photogenic. I may add the photos at some point, but I haven't uploaded them yet, and I really really should study.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

So, it was a fantastic party

I had such a great time, and the food was so good and went so fast, I didn't have time to post bad photos of the food. I have been pretty swamped with school and family since then.

I will try to pop in and psot new recipes soon. We had a delicious lo mein today with julienned onions, baby corn, leftover steak and pork, ginger, garlic, mushrooms, soy sauce, mirin, sesame seeds, and noodles. Mmmmmm. I also have a huge pot of broth going. It's chock full of goodies: celery tops, onion with skin, a cheese rind, garlic cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, carrots, and half a leftover chicken and a chicken base. Yum.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I lied

I made the Ahi tartare. And skewered the shrimp. And pureed the tasty marmalade.

Now I may be ready to face the won ton assembly. Sheesh. Wish me luck!

Pineapple marmalade

Pineapple marmalade is simmering deliciously on the stove. I tripled the amount of pineapple and almost tripled the sugar. It has a little pinch of red pepper flakes in it. I am tempted to add some shredded basil at the end. The marmalade is a dip to go with the fried brie and macadamia nut won tons. I am going to start making the shrimp skewers (to go back in the fridge). Then I'll start prepping the won tons.

Pictures to come.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration party

Countdown to the inauguration celebration and food orgy!

I happened to get a Hawaiian cookbook for Christmas. I figured since Obama was born and raised in Hawaii, and I want to try some of the recipes, why not have a Hawaiian themed event?

I am not calling it a luau, and I am not serving poi. But I am serving some potentially yummy stuff from Hawai'i Cuisine by Chef Sam Choy. I just finished making a batch of traditional Lomi Lomi salmon, a dish with diced smoked salted salmon, tomatoes, red and green onions and chili pepper flakes.

I am about to make one of my own salad combinations: chick peas, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, olives, some fancy onions, some greens from the garden, some fresh herbs from the garden, and some dressing.

I am roasting some sweet peppers and some garlic for an antipasto. I, uh, burned some asparagus that I forgot I put on the grill. I never should cook anything while I'm eating dinner.

We are really enjoying our new charcoal grill.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Seasonal eating

Sometimes, even in South Florida suburban living, you can eat with the seasons. I received a lovely, loaded New Year's ham bone from my mother in law. Neither Picky nor S will eat any beans. So, I went off in search for a ham bone recipe sans beans.

I found this recipe for Somma Borscht aka Weed Soup.

Of course, summer for Russian Mennonites is winter for Floridians! So, for this seasonal recipe, I have a seasonal bone and what is growing in my garden.

I am changing the recipe a bit (but of course!) I have dill (in the recipe) growing in my garden, but the main bitter green I have is arugula. So, I am subbing arugula for the sorrel in the recipe, which I have in abundance. I usually grow French sorrel in my garden, but not this year. I am not sure if that is the same species of sorrel in the recipe. I also decided to add some chicken broth to boost the broth flavor.

I will post pics and reviews soon!

I have two words for this recipe. Yuh and ummmmm. It was a big hit.

We had it with crusty grainy bread chunks and sour cream. Except for Picky, who doesn't do sour cream. Unless it's in paprikash.

Planning a feast

I am going to hold a bye bye Bush, hello Obama party at my house. It is going to be a Hawaiian themed party. I am very excited to use my new Hawaiian cookbook. I got it from a conservative brother in alw who is married to my liberal sister in law. So, I am sure one will be pleased, and the other, not so much.

Many fancy things planned. Stay tuned!