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Category — Recipes

sausage to the rescue

sleep baby

I have a confession. It is really hard to get back into the swing of cooking and cleaning and real-life after nearly 3 weeks of being out-of-town and having company. I have no drive or motivation to do … ANYTHING!

Dave is knee-deep in tax season, so we are like ships in the night.

Connor works from 2:30 PM to midnight, five to six days a week, so he’s rarely home for dinner.

sleep kitten

And although I didn’t have jet-lag in the usual sense, I now realize that although I wasn’t waking up in the middle of the night…. I am tired all day long!

sleepy sloth

I mean, when 3:30 or 4:00 hits each afternoon… I’m ready for bed! It takes all my power to stay up. Seriously, I feel like I need toothpicks to hold my eyes open! I think the latest I’ve hit the sack since our house-guests left is 8:00 PM. My usual bedtime is 10:30 or 11:00.

Enough of my first-world woes. I did get somewhat inspired by a package of sausage, of all things.

aidells

It’s really good sausage! Aidells sausage from Costco. And one of my favorite flavors ~ Habanero with Pepper Jack!

I went on the Aidells website and found a recipe to zip up to our liking. Here is one of the two sausage dishes we had for dinner on Sunday night…

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March 31, 2014   2 Comments

Friday Q & A

     “It’s like trying to pick your favorite child.”

Today I tackle the last of Lori’s four questions she’d posted after I asked for you, the readers, to pose questions to me for a new Friday Q & A feature.

puffsetup

I thought it was going to be the easiest of the four, so I “saved the best for last” – boy, was I wrong!  Here is Lori’s question:

“I know with your vast database, it is practically impossible, but can you tell us your list of the top-10 recipes that are quick, easy-peasy, crowd-pleasing, always get asked for the recipe, recipes? I am always overwhelmed when I get on your website and start looking through everything. I get so sidetracked sometimes, I totally forget why I went on in the first place.”

Sounds like an easy enough question, until you consider that I’ve posted 1,454 times over these last 4 1/2 years… that amounts to at least 1,000 recipes!

Caesarmakings

And as I considered the question more carefully, it became impossible to narrow down to ten. I found ten recipes I love and that fit Lori’s criteria before I got past the “appetizer” section of my Complete Recipe Index. In fact, before I knew it, I had over 25 appetizers alone.

I narrowed those down to six and started looking at the “Easy-Breezy” section of the index. Again, I had a list longer than my arm, so I just narrowed that down to two soups and two slow-cooker recipes.

As a result, I have to say, “No Lori, I can’t give you a definitive list of my Top 10 recipes on this site, quick, easy-peasy, crowd-pleasing or otherwise.”

15pcs

Instead, here are six appetizers, two soups and two crockpot meals to get you started on a Top 10 List of your own. I can guarantee that each of these is crowd-pleasing and if you make them once, they will instantly become a part of your repertoire.

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March 7, 2014   1 Comment

chicken a la rose

I received a request to post the recipe for Chicken a la Rose, which I mentioned in an earlier post. It was the main course at one of our Progressive Dinner host homes.

Additionally, in an email from a follower, I was asked to give details explaining exactly how we organize our neighborhood Progressive Dinners.

Today – the recipe.
Tomorrow – How to Host a Progressive Dinner.

Chicken a la Rose was a popular main course during the 1920′s. You’ll find it on this menu from a dinner in February, 1924, for President Coolidge.

Canape of Anchovies
Cream of Celery with Toasties
Celery Olives
Aiguillette of Striped Bass Joinville
Potatoes a la Hollandaise
Medaillon of Spring Lamb, Chasseur
Asparagus Tips au Gratin
***
Breast of Chicken a la Rose
Waldorf Salad, Mayonnaise
***
Venetian Ice Cream
Assorted Cakes
Coffee
 

chicken a la rose

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March 5, 2014   1 Comment

Shrimp Canapes

entry welcome

Saturday night was our 10th annual neighborhood Progressive Dinner. The theme this time was “Speakeasy” and we had so much fun with it.

bently

We started with appetizers at Ronnie’s beautiful home, then split up to have dinner at the various host homes and finally gathered back together at our house for desserts.

wine barrel decor

This was what greeted guests when they entered our house.

lemom drops

At Joanne’s, my “dinner host” home, I enjoyed a wonderful meal where we indulged on Lemon Drops and…

chicken a la rose

… not only delicious, but beautiful Chicken a la Rose, made by Kim…

dinner

… along with Waldorf Salad and Rosemary Potatoes…

jazzy background

… all in a perfectly jazzy dining room! Pictured are Flapper Ronnie, Cool Cat Scott (with his faux cigarette) and Flapper Kim. Can you even imagine a more perfectly themed dining room than this one, with its life-sized jazz band mural?

ronnie's table

It all began at Ronnie’s and her beautifully set hor d’oeuvres table!

I made the appetizers for Ronnie’s house and she provided the desserts for mine. I made Piglets in a Warm Puffy Blanket, Bacon Wrapped Cheesy Mushrooms, Spinach Deviled Eggs, and the following recipe for Shrimp Canapes.

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March 3, 2014   5 Comments

#tbt

My life is spiraling out of control, out of my control. Others are currently pulling the strings. As a result I have nothing new to blog about so today I’m giving you a Throwback Thursday.

blackberry gin & tonic

Today is a special day for my longtime friend… who also was a bridesmaid in my wedding some 28 years ago …. today is her birthday.

meloncello

The two cocktails and appetizer in THIS POST are what I served when we had Birthday Girl Karen and her husband, Bob, over for dinner last year about this time.

Karen & Bob * G&T's

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February 27, 2014   1 Comment

Frico with Smoked Paprika Aioli and a birthday wish

Tarbell's

Chef/Restauranteur and longtime friend, Mark Tarbell of Tarbell’s Restaurant, was the guest teacher at Les Gourmettes on Monday and Tuesday nights. His menu was inspired, fun, and delicious. The first course was Frico with Smoked Paprika Aioli.

frico round

Frico, is an Italian savory food, typical of Friuli, in the northeastern tip of Italy, which consists of a thin crisp wafer of shredded cheese, baked or fried until crisp. The customary cheeses used include Montasio, Parmesan or mozzarella. Mark used Montasio cheese, but Parmesan is easier to find and works just as well.

I’ve sung the praises of smoked paprika or pimentón many times here before. I don’t know why I didn’t think of making a pimentón mayonnaise – brilliant!

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February 26, 2014   4 Comments

Orgeat and Zsa Zsa Gabor

We don’t enjoy going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day.

queens affinity at the swim up bar

It’s overcrowded, the service isn’t always the best and working in the food industry, I can not relax and enjoy myself knowing that the restaurant is desperate for you to finish and leave so they can sit their next reservation.

Since Valentine’s was on a Friday this year, it made it easy to go out for our Valentine’s celebration on Saturday night instead. We wisely chose Bink’s Scottsdale.

binks scottsdale

Via

Bink’s Scottsdale is the newest more casual and relaxed venture for Kevin and Amy Binkley, chef-owners of the best restaurant in the Valley, Binkley’s Restaurant in Cave Creek.

There is also Bink’s Cafe in Cave Creek and Bink’s Midtown in Phoenix.

the queens affinity

Dinner was, of course, fantastic. The one thing I had that I thought I might be able to recreate was the Queen’s Affinity Cocktail. The menu said that it was made with Bombay Sapphire, Orgeat, and muddled Lemon and Mint.

Before I made the cocktail at home, I had to figure out what the heck orgeat is and then find out where to buy it or how to make it.

Orgeat

Orgeat is pronounced “or-zsa” – “zsa” as in Zsa Zsa Gabor.

After some research, it appeared that orgeat should be easy enough to find at any liquor store. I also learned that homemade orgeat is far superior to store-bought. As a result, I made my own.

First I shall share with you a recipe for my Queen’s Affinity Cocktail Knockoff and then for the Homemade Orgeat.

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February 24, 2014   2 Comments

The Burma Cookbook

rich semolina cake

On Tuesday night at Les Gourmettes Cooking School, we had two very charming gentlemen teach a class on Burmese cooking. Robert Carmack and Morrison Polkinghorne also happen to be the authors of The Burma Cookbook – Recipes from the Land of a Million Pagodas.

the burma cookbook

The class was not only informative and delicious but really fun – thanks to Robert and Morrison and their exceptionally outgoing and fun personalities.

For dessert they made one of the most popular of all Burmese desserts, a semolina cake.  Semolina is the coarse, purified wheat middlings of durum wheat used in making pasta, breakfast cereals, puddings and couscous.

The book is beautiful, the guys were great and the cake was sublime.

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February 20, 2014   No Comments

pancake muffins

lemon pancake muffins2

I have a loyal follower who has commented here a couple of times, but most often she emails me with comments and kind words.

The day after Christmas, Sharon, emailed me the photo below and said,

“A friend sent this; have you tried muffin pancakes?”

pancake muffins

Pancakes in muffin tins, no I haven’t tried that, but it looks and sounds kind of like Dutch Baby Pancakes, also known as German Pancakes, and what we’ve always called a Magic Pancake Basket.

magic pancake

My first intuition was to use my magic pancake batter, then instead of pouring the batter into a cast iron skillet, use the muffin tins and see if it would turn out the same. But since the photo Sharon shared indicated that regular pancake batter was used, I decided to go that route.

I used a classic lemon pancake batter I found in The Joy of Cooking, only adapting slightly, substituting yogurt for sour cream.

After about 9 of the 15 minutes of baking time, I could see that the pancakes were not going to puff up and create a crater in the center, as the photo showed. I pulled them out and used a spoon to press down on the muffin and make a crater of my own in the center. I then returned them to oven to finish baking and that worked just fine. They were cute little pancake muffin baskets and they tasted great! Next time, I’ll use my Magic Pancake batter though. I’m sharing both recipes with you today.

Thanks for the inspiration, Sharon. Even if it did take me over 6 weeks to get to.

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February 19, 2014   3 Comments

pasta and lamb

Yesterday it was pasta and beef – today it’s pasta and lamb.

Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu1

What’s going on? Honestly, it’s just a coincidence. This was my Valentine’s dinner gift to my guys. After dinner we went to see The Lego Movie – loved it!

The beef and pasta dinner was a couple of days later. Sometimes we all crave pasta.

pasta

The pasta used here is pappardelle which is a large, very broad, flat pasta noodle, similar to wide fettuccine. Pappardelle can be difficult to find in the grocery store. I found mine at Whole Foods.

scissor tomatoes

Tip: This recipe calls for canned diced tomatoes. If you only have canned whole tomatoes, an easy way to dice them is by using kitchen shears and cut the tomatoes right in the can.

This particular recipe is one that I adapted from a recipe I found in Food & Wine magazine.

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February 18, 2014   5 Comments