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.
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.
This week has been a bit of a bust in our household. I've been sick since last Tuesday/Wednesday, and just when I'm finally feeling a bit better, poor W has come down with the same icky cold that started my sinus infection and bronchitis. So, last night I was in a total comfort food mode and wanted to channel this Tiger vs. Dragon Soup from Aarti's (yes, the Food Network's Star's former blog, Aartilla the Fun that I made a few weeks ago). But, I wanted it to taste more homey and rich, so based it on a chicken and cannellini bean soup I had made in the past, with the addition of some bacon . . . and some creamed corn. The creamed corn gives it a delightfully sweet touch that contrasts nicely with the savory comforting richness of chicken paired with bacon. I'm feeling better now. But, I'll probably have to make a new batch to get W through his sickness. Bless his heart.
Happy Belated St. Patty's Day! I've recently been chatting with a dear friend who lives in Ireland, and she mentioned to me that March 18th of this year was the first time she had ever heard of all of the "pinching and wearing green" malarkey that us Americans go on and on about every March 17th. I was a bit ashamed to admit that I didn't even know of the origins of the holiday as I have Irish Catholic roots; have we really translated a holiday meant to mark the arrival of Christianity in Ireland into a green beer drinking, corned-beef eating good time? We have? I mean, sign me up, but let's not forget to take a moment to bow our heads and thank Saint Patrick for finding that 4 leaf clover on March 17th. I'm celebrating late because I have been sick the last week, and only just felt up to cooking something this morning. One of my favourite uses of Corned Beef is as a hash. If you have already cooked leftover potatoes from another dish, this is a fantastic way to utilize them. Meat and potatoes with a fried egg = a pretty delicious breakfast.
Now that it's in the high 70s in Dallas, I had originally intended this post to focus on reveling in the cold and icy weather we had been dealing with and suggesting cornbread and chili as the perfect comfort food; well, it just seems poorly timed now that we're entering summer-time temperatures. But, it is still February, the weather in other parts of the country could still be worthy of a nice hot bowl of chili, so I'm just going to roll with this post today. Those of you that are still wearing your snow boots and shoveling driveways; you'll be pointing your fingers and laughing when I'm complaining about the immense heat come August. So, my big weakness is bread. Living in the South, I have had so many versions of cornbread with additions like bacon and jalapenos and cheese. While they are always delicious in their own right, nothing really tastes better to me than a nice buttery piece of sweet cornbread; plain. I emphasize the plain-ness of the cornbread because it's so much more versatile; as a base for a good chili, crumbled the next day in a stuffing, and drizzled with honey as dessert. I found a version of this recipe online at AllRecipes.com, and made a couple of tweaks with ingredient levels. The recipe I found had 1/4 cup more sugar, but I worried it would be overly sweet, and found this to be a great happy medium. It makes quite a bit, so leftovers can be easily used for a couple of days. Hope you enjoy this recipe!
It's Super Bowl week, and there has been an overwhelming smell of apathy in the air for the upcoming game. Compounding the lack of any real excitement coming from surrounding Cowboys fans, we have had some incredibly treacherous weather here in the Dallas area recently. Beginning on Tuesday morning with an ice storm that shut down the entire city coating each and every street along my commute with slippery sheets of ice. The temperature has not ventured above freezing since Monday, so the ice has stuck around, much to my (and my boss') chagrin. Last night, we were rewarded with another 6"-8" of snow on top of that inch of ice. As a native Las Vegan living in the South, let's just say that this is exactly why I DIDN'T move to Chicago when I had the opportunity. Needless to say, I've become a bit stir crazy, and we decided to break out the camera equipment, lights, and "fancy" dishes for a dinner photo shoot. This recipe was a delicious combination of sweet and savory, and when I suggest using real maple syrup, I'm using grade A medium amber maple syrup. No Mrs. Butterworth's, please. The chicken was moist and tender. I left the skin on the thighs, and after broiling with a nice amount of seasoning, added a lovely crispy texture to the rest of the meal. This is a definite "make again", and after serving with some very simple steamed broccoli, the sauce makes plain old broccoli a delicious veggie that your kids might even happily eat!
Happy New Year, all! I hope you have all had an incredibly enjoyable Christmas and New Year and have been settling into life in 2011! In the past few months, W and I have been through a lot of bottles of wine. And my Uncle Roger, has been generously making creative gifts of old wine bottles by stuffing LED Christmas lights into them. Ta Daaa; Christmas-light wine bottle fixture! We are now blessed with a Christmas-light bottle of Silver Oak (Alexander Valley Cabernet, 2004) and a bottle of The Prisoner. I would try to explain the history behind The Prisoner vs. The Promise, but the moral of that story is; wear your glasses when picking out bottles of wine, kids. Today, we had 3-6" of snow in Dallas, so I spent the day braising beef short ribs in wine. This dish makes the house smell like Heaven while it's cooking. There is nothing more homey than beef and wine served with creamy mashed potatoes with garlic and chives. The best part about this braising sauce is that you can use the leftovers for chicken the next day; it's delicious.
Looking back through my past (most recent) posts, it's clear I need to make some apologies to you, dear Reader. Or excuses. Whatever you really want to call them, I haven't been adding content at a pace I'm happy with, so I wanted to make sure I submitted something before we made it through October with nary a new recipe. It seems like this year is just flying by, and with the cooler weather approaching, I'll be much more likely to spend a Sunday cooking and photographing dinner.
I've never really been one for baking, but because I love cookies, I decided to make an attempt at homemade biscotti. I'm also not much of a coffee drinker, so this lemon almond biscotti is perfect paired with a sweeter green tea.
Our garden is just on fire this month. Tomatoes are being produced at a phenomenal rate and our basil is just in fantastic shape! I haven't really been posting as many recipes lately because frankly, I haven't been cooking nearly as much. The summertime is just my least inspired season to explore in the kitchen because of the heat, but truly, with our garden producing as much as it has, how could I not! This bisque was a fantastic and light weeknight dinner and because W always makes crostini topped with salt, pepper, olive oil and parmeggianno reggianno when I make soup, it made for a nice meal.