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Category — Recipes

accidents happen

This summer, when we were out of town, my full-size freezer in the laundry room was accidentally left open for a day.

oops

It wasn’t all the “openers” fault.

Although the freezer is only a few years old, the seal had come loose and instead of figuring out how to fix it, I used duct tape to keep it closed.

Additionally I had a little chalkboard chef on the front of the freezer who told “would be openers” this:

do not open

“Do NOT OPEN! It is next to impossible to re-shut and keep shut.”

Unfortunately, the “opener” did not see or heed the chalkboard chef’s warning.

Even though I knew of the “freezer-breach” immediately upon my return home, I avoided the freezer and refused to open it and face the music until two months later.

Nearly everything was a loss; homemade chicken and beef stocks, frozen citrus juices, handmade puff pastry, lobster broth, homemade mole, demi-glace, frost-burnt cookies and brownies, and quite a bit of meat. I threw out more chicken breast and chicken thighs than I’d care to mention.

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September 29, 2014   1 Comment

Pumpkin season is upon us!

cookies!

Everyone jumps on the Pumpkin Bandwagon this time of year. Recipe blogs have the best reason to do so! It’s our mission to spread the Pumpkin Joy!

These delicious cookies are inspired by a recipe I found in Better Homes and Garden Magazine.

The first ingredient is scary!

One pound of butter is A LOT!

The upside, if that is possible? The recipe makes 100 cookies. One Hundred – that’s A Lot too.

lined up sheets

Luckily I have enough cookie sheets so I don’t have to use the same sheets over and over. If you do need to use the same sheets, be sure to let them cool completely between batches.

frosted cookies

Plus, I have plenty of cooling racks. One of the advantages of having a cooking school!

I’ve named these cookies “cakey” because of their cake-like texture. I suppose another option could have been to name them “mini-cakes” instead of cookies.

You Decide.

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September 26, 2014   5 Comments

TBT

Throw Back Thursday!

Lemon Curd Roll

One of my favorite recipes from Year One (2009) of the blog, is Lemon Curd Lemon Roll.  I highlight it again to show my love and gratitude for my beautiful baby girl, Marissa.

Bonus picture: Me and Maris just after her 2nd birthday on Christmas Day. xoxo

Bonus TBT picture: Christmas Day 1989 -Me and Maris, a few weeks after her 2nd birthday. xoxo

Marissa amazed me last week, when she sent me her Southwest Airlines itinerary confirmation, surprising me with the fact that she’ll be flying home for my birthday weekend, in late October.

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September 25, 2014   2 Comments

fresh honeycomb in the frame

shelborne honey

In late July, when we were staying at the Shelbourne, in Dublin, we’d have their breakfast buffet each morning. I saw something there that I’ve never seen before. Fresh honeycomb in the frame (direct from the hives) with spoons to help yourself and scoop right off the frame. So Cool!

chocolate covered honey comb

About a week later, at The Ballymaloe House, we were served Fresh Honeycomb Dipped in Chocolate as an after dinner treat. Even Cooler!

I haven’t been able to get either thing off my mind since.

Last Saturday, Sheila invited me to go to Singh Farms (8900 E Thomas – just east of the 101 at the Thomas exit) with her. Their Farmer’s Market won’t be open until late October but their compost yard was open and they were selling herb starts, compost, bat guano, worm castings, fresh eggs …. and honey!

I wondered if they might sell fresh honeycomb in the frame. Sheila encouraged me to ask.

honey frame

I did. And they do! I bought this lovely honey frame (easel not included) for $20.

You don’t have to buy an entire frame of honeycomb to make this recipe. You can purchase fresh honeycomb online HERE and have it delivered right to your door.

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September 23, 2014   2 Comments

a skillet, a slow cooker and the broiler

carnitas

Sometimes I am shocked when I discover the recipes that I have NOT posted on this site in the last five years.

I found a pork shoulder in my freezer and decided that the best thing I could do with it was to make carnitas. I would have sworn, that by now, I would have posted my carnitas recipe. I typed “carnitas” in the search bar over there on the right … No, there was no carnitas to be found. Strange!

crispy browned carnias

In the old days, I’d make carnitas one of two classic ways … deep-frying it in lard (oh my!) or slow roasting it in a hot oven for hours on end (not the best idea in the AZ summer!) … today, I use a slow cooker. OK, not only a slow cooker. Also a skillet at the beginning and a sheet pan, under the broiler, at the end.

The skillet, and a bit of olive oil, is needed at the beginning to brown the meat.  The slow cooker is used in the middle to make the meat fork tender, without heating up the entire kitchen. Finally, the broiler is used for only about 10 minutes at the end to make the pork crispy. Soft meat (which is what the slow cooker produces) does not qualify as carnitas! Below is a photo of some of the meat scrapes from the bottom of the slow cooker, placed in a tortilla. This is what you don’t want! Soft, over shredded, soggy meat. This is not carnitas!

unbrowned over shredded

Even though there are three distinctly different cooking stages, the hands-on time is minimal. Totally worth it! [Read more →]


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September 17, 2014   No Comments

roasted vegetable versatility

IMG_4867

Roasted vegetables are one of the most versatile foodstuffs to have on hand.

IMG_4874

Case in point – I roasted up a bunch of vegetables last week for a meeting I had here at the house.

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I used a few cups of the finished product for mini-pita sandwiches, which were devoured between the meeting attendees and my by guys, after the meeting.

roasted vegetable enchiladas

A couple of nights later I used them to make enchiladas for dinner.

vegetable scramble

And all week long, I added them to scrambled eggs for breakfast.

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No need for the sandwich or egg recipes; just stuff mini-pita halves and warm in a skillet before stirring in a couple beaten eggs. The enchilada recipe is below.

The link for how to roast the veggies has three more recipes using roasted vegetables. The only difference in how I roasted them this time, was instead of using olive oil, I sprayed the foil-lined pans with Pam, placed the vegetables on the foil and then sprayed the vegetables again with Pam before seasoning with salt and pepper and placing in the oven.

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September 16, 2014   2 Comments

nom nom nom

Are you looking for a healthy Meatless Monday meal?

meatless

Move along, this recipe is not for you!

This is decadence at its best!

Oh sure, I used chicken breakfast sausage and soy chorizo …  don’t let that fool you, this is not a healthy, low-fat, low-cal recipe. It is deliciousness to the max!

soy

Are you still with me?

Good… Enjoy!

The recipe makes two skillets of Queso. It is best to do this in two small 8-inch cast iron skillets, as it is best eaten hot from the oven.

A larger skillet would allow the queso to cool and harden, which is exactly what we don’t want! It’s best while hot and melty.

queso fundido

Now you don’t have to use cast iron, but look how good it looks! You just need to make sure your skillets are oven-safe, meaning the handle won’t melt. If your skillet is not oven-safe, or if you’re not sure, just wrap the handle with at least 3 layers of foil… now it’s oven-safe and ready to rock and roll!

Assemble both skillets at the same time, cover one and place in the refrigerator until the other is about gone (This is guaranteed to happen within minutes of being placed in front of a hungry group!) then pop the second in the oven.

nom nom

Hungry Queso fans will be hanging around the oven, waiting for it to come out… that’s fine, it takes less than 10 minutes to bake.

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September 15, 2014   2 Comments

Rancho la Puerta Garbanzo Soup

my favoirte view

My abbreviated week at Rancho La Puerta, although short, was wonderful!

rancho la puerta

When Barb, Kim and I first went to “The Ranch” in 2008, I thoroughly enjoyed the week.

the bird and branch

This time, I really realized what a special and beautiful place it is. I’m not the only one who thinks so. Rancho La Puerta is one of the Top 10 Destination Spas of 2014 according to Conte Nast Traveler. Granted there are three Top 10 Spas that are closer, all right here in Arizona (Canyon Ranch and Miraval in Tucson and Mii Amo in Sedona)  but “The Ranch” is darn close too, only 45 miles south of San Diego, just across the US/Mexico border in Tecate.

dining hall

One of my favorite meals was a lunch consisting of garbanzo bean soup and roasted vegetable pita sandwiches. I tried to recreate the soup at home, I think I got pretty close.

yoga class

Along with the recipe, I’m sharing a few of the many (as in over 200) photos I took, including one at my daily yoga class above and another of Kim and my bedroom below.

linda and kims room

Thank you, Barb, for once again taking me along on another of your wonderful adventures. xox

broth and beans

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September 12, 2014   2 Comments

cuban panini

Before we get to recipe #3 from the pork tenderloin in yesterday’s post, a quick update on The Give-Away. As of 9:00 p.m. Tuesday, we have 56 eligible entries and sixteen possible winners. Remember, you may comment up to five times and you have until tomorrow, Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. (PST) to enter. Click HERE to learn more.

knife and apron

Someone is going to win, don’t miss the chance … it may be you!

The third recipe from two pork tenderloins is a classic Cuban sandwich, minus the Cuban bread (French instead) and plus a panini press.

If you don’t own a press – no problem – a waffle iron (perfectly good) a grill pan (fine and dandy) or a skillet (better than nothing) all will work too.

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The recipe makes four sandwiches, even though you only see three being made in the photos. That is because my panini press could only hold three sandwiches at a time. The fourth sandwich was made later.

Connor and I loved these sandwiches so much that we had them for dinner one night, then lunch the next day and dinner again that second night. In fact, I’m craving one as I type!

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August 27, 2014   1 Comment

2 pork tenderloins – 3 meals

Pork tenderloin is the best. It is so versatile, plus it cooks quickly and goes a long way.

2 per package

Pork tenderloin come two to a package. I used the two tenderloins to make three separate meals. Each meal serves four, plus extra for seconds.

pork tenderlion with cheese

Meal #1 is simple grilled pork, seasoned simply with salt and pepper. About 3/4 of one of the tenderloins was used for this. Meal #2 used half of the other tenderloin to make a pizza.

The salt and pepper grilled pork and the pizza recipes are below. The rest of the tenderloin was used for meal #3, which I will share with you tomorrow.

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August 26, 2014   2 Comments