Yearly Archives: 2011

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Duck Fat Fries

By |2020-05-13T01:19:16+00:00December 26th, 2011|

So, you know how there are just certain things you go to the trouble to prepare just to harvest the end result? A whole duck just to capture the delicious rendered fat? An entire pound of bacon to, once again, harvest the delicious fat? This year, I knew I was going to be hosting two Thanksgiving meals, so I decided to roast a duck just for the fat. I didn't have any plans for that fat until Christmas day, when I decided to roast some potatoes in that delicious fat and then broil them until golden. These are super easy to make, and really delicious hot from the oven kissed simply with sea salt.

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

By |2020-05-13T01:20:04+00:00December 26th, 2011|

While very belated, I wanted to finally getting around to posting my first attempt at making a from-scratch Green Bean Casserole. On our way home from visiting our family in Houston this Christmas Eve, W mentioned that he was once again craving GBC. He wasn't sure what he wanted as a main, but he absolutely knew he wanted this as a side. Comfort dishes like this one always appear to be so much simpler to prepare when using a canned cream of something-or-other soup instead of just making your own cream sauce. This one is as simple as melting some butter, whisking in some flour, and adding some liquid and combining the components into a baking dish. Ditch the topping in favor of just the traditional French fried onions (if you want) and you have a quite simple make-ahead meal that will win over family and guests alike.

Baked Brie with Chopped Dates

By |2020-05-12T23:25:38+00:00December 10th, 2011|

I started looking through the Starters/Appetizers recipe of my blog and realized "Sheeesh, for as much entertaining as I do, I sure don't have a lot of quick and easy appetizers on the site . . ." Sweet and salty inspiration then struck us; W and I decided to wrap some brie and some sort of fruit in some puff pastry, bake it, and call it a day. But then the question came to us; Which fruit should we use? There's the ever popular preserves option, but we don't keep a lot of preserves handy in the fridge, so that was out. I thought, for a moment, about going savory with some sun-dried tomatoes as an excuse to use the last of our soon-to-be-dying basil due to the impending winter. But, ultimately, we went with chopped dates since they were in our pantry and I had no impending plans for them. The possibilities are endless here, so go nuts!

Pumpkin Ale Pork Chili

By |2020-05-12T23:25:10+00:00November 12th, 2011|

So, it's finally starting to feel like Fall around here, and with the slowly changing leaves (very slowly, because Dallas has been hovering in the mid-70s this week), it's starting to look a bit like it, too. So, when my friend Miah posted this recipe for a pork chili simmered in pumpkin ale with chocolate, pumpkin, and spices, I thought "What on Earth? That sounds really odd." And my next immediate thought was ". . . but Miah wouldn't steer me wrong. . ." And he absolutely didn't. The combination of flavors this chili produced were nearly addicting. It's a bit on the spicy side (so, I've been told; my sensitivity to spice has been reduced drastically in recent years) so it may be "Holy crap, my tongue! It burns!" spicy to those of you who haven't been challenged to eat raw peppers as of late. Also, while the garnish may not look exceedingly appetizing (and as a friend pointed out, a bit like melted Velveeta), it's a really uplifting flavor and is delicious mixed in with the very complex sweet and spicy chili.

One Michelin Star, Two Hungry Sardinian Tourists, a Private Sailboat, and 11ty Courses . . .

By |2020-05-12T23:25:16+00:00September 19th, 2011|

I tend to go on and on about how much I love Europe, and how Italy (specifically, Positano) has stolen my heart, but I'm here to tell you, I think I have a new love in my life. I know. Surprising, right? It's been quite some time since, but W and I jetted off to Sardinia in May ahead of what was a very generous (and timely) vacation to the island of Capri provided by Small Luxury Hotels. Well, *provided* after I spent weeks and weeks voting and asking many of you to spend some time voting for me, so for that, I thank you. I intend to do some justice to Capri at a later date, but this post is intended to focus on our lovely experience at a hidden gem of a restaurant in Palau on the northeast tip of Sardinia, La Gritta. Oh, yeah. And something, something . . . on a boat.

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

By |2020-05-12T23:25:29+00:00September 6th, 2011|

I'm not really one for baking, as I feel I'm more improvisational in the kitchen as opposed to a scientist. Measurements (exact ones, anyhow) tend to scare me a bit. And, if I'm being honest, I've had my share of baking experiments gone awry in the past, so I'm not really interested in repeating those mistakes any time soon. However, I've made some Lemon Almond Biscotti without a whole lot of drama in the past, so I thought I'd take a stab at some that included one of my favourite things; Chocolate! These were pretty great, and didn't last long in our household, as both W and I are coffee drinkers (him, way more than me!) every morning, and we have friends who accept our generosity at exactly face value; please remove these delicious treats from our household so our waists don't expand *that* much.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts Topped with a Baked Egg

By |2020-05-12T23:25:09+00:00September 4th, 2011|

I have been a vegetable roasting fiend as of late. Pretty much any combination of vegetables, I'll roast. Lately, I've rediscovered the magnificence of simple roasted brussel sprouts, and at the risk of over kill, it's been a two-three time a week meal since we're trying to watch our figures and make sure our upcoming trip to Las Vegas allows us to be gluttonous fools for a weekend. DB Brasserie and Burger Bar await, as does Bouchon for brunch. Well, that's where this post runs off the tracks. I had every intention of just using minimal oil, salt, pepper, and garlic to season these things, but then the idea of bacon and topping it all with a couple of eggs crept into my mind, and all hell broke loose in the form of these breakfast-inspired roasted brussel sprouts. Gotta love the versatility of them, but they can get exceedingly addicting. Just fair warning.

Braised Pork Shoulder Breakfast Tacos

By |2020-05-12T23:25:34+00:00August 23rd, 2011|

Though I've done so in the past (I know; bad, bad Lauren!), I just can't bring myself to call these braised pork shoulder breakfast tacos "carnitas". I didn't slow cook them in lard, and sort of cheated, if I'm being honest. Because really, that's just what braising is; joyous, minimal prep, and then shoving the meat in a dutch oven with some liquid, and just let. it. go. I watched nearly the entire web series The Guild (highly recommended if you're an internet nerd, and well, you're reading this blog, so I strongly suspect that you might be) while I was waiting for dinner to be ready. I wrote the recipe for a larger amount of pork (because most people will have a 4-6 lb. pork shoulder to work with), but what I like to do since we recently invested in our KA meat grinder (on another note, grinding meat has become somewhat relaxing in a way), is to buy a 10-12 lb hunk of shoulder from our favourite meat shop and break it down into 1-2 lb. freezable portions, so that I'm rarely overcooking and thus, boring ourselves with the same leftovers for days. This amount (1.5 lb.) of shoulder easily made 8-10 breakfast tacos, which was perfect for 2 nights of dinner for 2 people.

Porcini Crusted Ribeye with Gorgonzola Butter

By |2020-05-12T23:25:12+00:00June 12th, 2011|

W and I have had an incredibly eventful few weeks. Having just returned from nearly 2 weeks in Sardinia and Capri, for some reason, I haven't felt much like cooking, and quite truthfully, we weren't in the mood to eat so much of the rich food we gobbled up in Italy. I will make an attempt to cover Sardinia and Capri in another post, but a stroke of inspiration came last night and I wanted to share this unbelievably delicious meal that we grilled in an attempt to create a dinner to live up to our favourite bottle of wine; Alexander Valley Silver Oak Cabernet. Those of you who know me, know that I hoarde this stuff. But, last night felt like a cause for celebration, so we cracked that bad boy open and enjoyed the heck out of it. As for the ribeye, our butcher found an unbelievably well-marbled boneless slab of meat that I instantly fell for. The porcini dust made for an amazingly unctuous flavour that just melted in our mouths, and with our first 2 ears of corn from our garden (which were still a bit too young, but tasted FAB anyhow), I do believe we created a dish worthy of a little Silver Oak.

Dried Apricot, Date & Lamb Stuffed Peppers

By |2020-05-12T23:25:24+00:00April 10th, 2011|

I can't believe it's already April! The plants in the greenhouse are doing incredibly well. A variety of herbs; two types of thyme, rosemary, cilantro, our curry plant, tarragon, chives, purple basil, sweet Italian basil, sage, parsley, oregano, dill, lettuce and cilantro seedlings, three types of tomatoes, poblano, bell, and jalapeño peppers. Even our grapevine is going insane and starting crazy production. It's going to be a great spring and summer! On another (happy-sad) front, my very best friend, Renee, is moving to Australia NEXT Sunday. I'm not sure what I'll do without her (probably cooking a whole lot more :) than I have been), but many of my coming recipes will be dedicated to Renee and her new adventure in Australia with the love of her life, Matt! W and I couldn't be happier for her, and I hope that chronicling my recipes will help inspire her in her new town of 1,000 inhabitants.