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.
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.
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!