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Category — tips

dinner party main course

1 serving

This is the final recipe from our dinner party with Karen and Bob. As with the other recipes, I found this in a food magazine, this time from the February issue of Food & Wine.

The changes I made; two large onions seemed like too much, I decreased it to one. The recipe was called Ratatouille Toasts with Fried Eggs, it is now Ratatouille Toasts with Poached Eggs. Poached eggs are easier and able to be done ahead, a huge bonus when entertaining.

To do so; poach your eggs as normal, but under-cook them slightly. About 30 seconds off of your normal cooking time should do the trick. Just make sure the whites are nearly set. Lift the eggs directly out of the simmering water and into an ice bath to stop the cooking.  Then place them into the refrigerator until you need them.

egg ice bath

When you’re ready to serve, bring a pot of water to a gentle simmer and give your eggs a final 45 seconds of poaching. Because the whites are already set, you can heat several eggs at once without worrying that they will stick together. This takes much less time than poaching all the eggs at the last minute.

I usually poach the eggs the night before or the morning of a dinner or brunch. In the recipe below, I have instructions as if you are going to serve the eggs immediately, just in case that is how you would prefer to do it. Use the instructions above for making ahead.

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January 25, 2013   1 Comment

slow cooker tip

Today, I have more of a tip for you than a recipe. It all came about because of a mispurchase that I made at Costco some time ago.

Mispurchase ~ spell-check does not like that, but I think it is a perfectly reasonable word.

chicken legs

Anyhow, I accidentally bought a huge package of chicken legs instead of chicken thighs, and the legs have been sitting in my freezer for much too long.

Connor is still home this week, so I decided that he would absolutely love to have chicken legs for dinner and for a few lunches before he goes back to school on Monday.

2 sauce choices

I also had way too many bottles of various sauces taking up room in my refrigerator. I used a mix of these two.

So what does all this have to do with a new tip for a crock-pot/slow cooker?

Being as lazy as can be, I didn’t want to brown the legs before sticking them in the slow cooker and I didn’t want to have to pull the skin off of all 15 of them. But I also didn’t want all that fat from the skin to be floating around in there.  So… I came up with for brilliant idea of wadding up some foil and placing it in the bottom. Worked like a charm!

foil

The fat all went down below the foil and the legs turned out crispy and cooked through and through.

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January 11, 2013   2 Comments

nearly back to normal

costco apple boxes

As of 4:30 PM yesterday, my house is nearly back to normal. With a boat-load of help from Connor, Christmas is packed up and put back in the crawl space.

I still need to clean up my sitting room, which served as “the wrapping station” this year. Since I was using a walker during the time I was wrapping, it looks as though a bomb went off in that area. I’ll get that cleaned up today and all the regular “decor” put back into place. Then I am done!

So what’s with that photo above, taken of stacks of apples at Costco, you ask?

You see, my husband, David, eats an apple every single morning. Seriously! Every. Day. He rarely gets sick, so I suppose it is true, an apple a day does keep the doctor away.

Costco sells apples in these wonderful little domed containers.  Back in October, I began to save them with the thought that they would be perfect to hold and store Christmas ornaments.

potspans

They are perfect!

chefs

The space between every two apple rounds doesn’t not come up completely, so you can even place long ornaments there and take up two spaces.

bubbled

Next, I placed a sheet of bubble wrap on top to prevent items from slipping and jiggling. Then I just closed and sealed the lid, and everything is safe and sound.

bottle brush

Turns out, the container is perfect for my delicate bottle brush trees too. No crushed or damaged trees to deal with next year!

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January 8, 2013   7 Comments

right around the corner…

It’s rather late in the day for me to be posting, but it’s not too late to remind you, as if you need it if you’re hosting, that Thanksgiving is next week!

I know! Wasn’t just last week Halloween?!?  It’s early this year, so don’t let it sneak up on you.

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November 13, 2012   2 Comments

Halloween Spiderweb Cake

Today we are going to revisit a Halloween favorite around these parts – my Halloween Spiderweb Candy Cake with 7-Minute Espresso Frosting. Click the name of the cake to link to the very explicit directions on how to make this fun cake with many instructional photos.

I thought I would use this opportunity to remind you that there is the “Complete Recipe Index” over there on the left side of the page – near the top, under the “Pages” tab.

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October 10, 2012   1 Comment

Auntie B’s cake

Today is Dave’s birthday. Connor came home from school for the weekend and HE, not I, made Dave’s birthday cake! All I did was take the action photos. Dave’s cake of choice is always his Auntie B’s Chocolate Cake. My mother-in-law sent me the recipe even before we were married so that I could make it for her boy who had moved so far from home.

Dave remembers the anticipation of The Beloved Cake when he would see a measuring cup full of milk, covered with a towel, sitting near the heater under the front picture window of his childhood home. You see, the recipe calls for sour milk. That old method of souring milk is no longer recommended since milk that is soured naturally may contain toxins. A safer, quicker, and much easier way to sour milk is to add 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 cup of 2% or whole milk and leave it sit on a counter for 15 minutes before using. All that being said, everyone in Dave’s family is healthy and happy after consuming many of Auntie B’s cakes that were made with naturally soured milk.

Happy Birthday, Dave! xoxo

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October 6, 2012   5 Comments

my very first instructional iMovie!

Now that I am a pro at shooting, editing, downloading, and posting iMovies – as you know, I’ve done three of them now – I figured it was time to post my first “Cooking Tip iMovie.”  Hopefully it won’t receive horrid reviews from you … and end up being my last “Cooking Tip iMovie.”

Before you have the privilege of feasting your eyes and ears on the actual video, I have to give shout-outs and props to a few awesome folks:

Firstly, huge props and thanks to my friend and neighbor, Amy (that would The Amy – as in Amy’s Famous Taco Soup) who so sweetly turned me on to this super cool tip.  Amy sent me a video of a Chinese dude doing this technique. But since the video is in Chinese, without subtitles, I decided to demonstrate it myself, in English, instead of linking you to the original.

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August 27, 2012   9 Comments

silly Shirley

Ten days ago today, was my 3rd Blogiversary and I put up my 1000th post. On that momentous day, I included this picture.

Yesterday, I found this picture of a painting by artist Sarah Ashley Longshore, on Facebook…

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August 26, 2012   1 Comment

new easier taco salad

Initially, I was going to label this “new and improved” taco salad. But after going back and looking at the original taco salad I posted in November, 2010, I determined that it isn’t improved, just different, and a whole lot easier!

I love this dressing, it is so smooth and creamy. Feel free to add whatever else you’d like to the salad toppings; black beans, diced red or green onion, and pickled jalapenos are just a few things that come to mind.

I used the multi-grain Tostitos Scoops as my chips of choice. Connor thought that was a waste of the perfectly formed Scoops, so I dumped out the package and picked out all the broken pieces, so we wouldn’t waste a single “Scoop”!  Then I had the brilliant idea of making Individual Taco Salad Bites as a party appetizer. If you decide to make these cuties for your next party – be sure  to chop the lettuce finer, place the shredded cheese in the “Scoop” first, then the rest of the ingredients and fill at the last minute to keep them from getting soggy too quickly.

I used some of this delicious Jalapeno Olive Oil that I’d bought last year at The Olive Press store which was located inside the Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in Sonoma, California. But any olive oil you have or prefer will do nicely.

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July 20, 2012   1 Comment

pop pop

This is the final entry of my quick and easy party food ideas for the week… and it may be the easiest of them all. Only four ingredients that take only minutes to assemble and bake.

Get the kids to help and put them together, assembly-line style, and you’ll be chowing down on these puppies in less than 20 minutes. 

Tip: I always keep cooked bacon pieces in my freezer. Anytime a recipe calls for bacon that is chopped and cooked crisp, I will cook up a full pound, use what I need, and place the rest in a freezer-ziplock bag. Then when you need a small amount, such as for these poppers, you just pull out what is needed.  Perfect for a quick omelet any morning of the week too.

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July 18, 2012   2 Comments