Tuesday, January 27, 2009
There are very few things that make me happier than the smell of sauteeing onions. I had baked a very nice baguette earlier in the day for the croutons, brushed with some minced garlic & olive oil before toasting,
and used Dubliner cheddar insted of the considerably more expensive gruyere (there is a recession on, after all).
This got rave reviews, I knew it would so I served it in huge bowls instead of the cool FireKing soup crocks I have. The pot was literally clean at the end of dinner. We are loving this soup night thing. Carrots were 78 cents for a 2 lb bag this afternoon, so carrot soup is up again on Monday, or Tuesday due to pub quiz night.
On a side note, just finished reading Kathleen Flinn's "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry".. and entertaining read with a good recipe for "ragu" that I made Sunday & we enjoyed thoroughly (though it really tasted more like "stroganoff").
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
After enjoying some nice pastries at Carlock's (mmmm bacon & cheese fritters) Saturday we spent a few hours in San Luis Obispo: Mo's for BBQ and some time at an INDEPENDENT record store - what fun!! Then, we went to Morro Bay and were too early for the farmer's market. So, the guys played catch on the sand by the rock, and we hung out a bit. By then, it was market time -- we had to get some olive tapenade from the olive guy, they have a bruscetta mix that is awesome (we actually left it there in the fridge for my inlaws that are going next weekend), some salsa from the tamale truck (our first try.. this stuff is great), and some rock cod from the fish guy. Very tempting were his fresh oysters, but alas we don't have an oyster knife at the house... will be remedied next time we go up! The fish was pan fried simply with some s&p, butter & olive oil, then a simple sauce made with wine and a bit more butter - Andrew is the master of fish!! I roasted up some brussels sprouts --- our 10 year old requested them much to the delight of the seller -- and made a quick salad. What a great meal, rounded out with Harmony Riesling. Once my brother & sister in law and nephew arrived, we played "Jenga" (a generic version), watched Top Gear, and had many drinks.
Sunday we went to Carlock's to find them not open :( -- who closes a bakery on a sunday? So, we all settled for cereal, toast, coffee, etc. before heading down to Pismo Beach. We stood in the line for Splash chowder in bread bowls, ate that on the beach, walked around a bit, then split up. The boys wanted to play some frisbee on the beach, and Andrew and I needed to do some shopping. He needed new sneakers so we stopped by the outlet mall only to end up at Big5 instead. No worries, because we were on our way to Spencer's Market, on the north end of Morro Bay. It is a small local grocery chain, and we have found that they carry the best quality beef - we picked up some steaks for dinner. After thoroughly enjoying chips with the great salsa, plus some guacamole and onion dip, we grilled up steaks, roasted potatoes, and had an overall awesome meal. We all topped it off with more drinks, and s'mores over the fire pit in the back yard.
What a great weekend!! I would have had photos of all of the cooking and fun food, but my camera was sitting on my kitchen counter :(
We are so thankful to have a great place to hang out with friends and family!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I cooked this loaf on the George Foreman grill that my brother & sister in law gave us for Christmas. It has lots more surface area than my panini press. That turned out really great also, since the bread is baked on an olive-oiled sheet & has oil drizzled over the top it gets nice & crusty.
Too bad it was 80 degrees out, we would have enjoyed it even more!
Friday, January 9, 2009
Yes, my camera is not screwy, this is purple plastic wrap. I ran out of clear the other day and haven't made it to Target yet this week.
That sat in the fridge while we ate, then I rolled it out into more or less a circle (on the 2nd try).
I filled it with berries, brushed on some melted butter, sprinkled on some sugar and cinnamon, looks ok so far right?
I baked it while we played some Rock Band 2, and it came out mostly non-retarded looking I think.
It definitely didn't taste retarded. Yay, me! I made a dessert crust that didn't cook into a tasteless brick! And both my son and my husband said I should make it again! Well, maybe.. if I can find that pastry cutter.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I did pass on the black pepper sourdough croutons, fried in a pan with butter, and instead made croutons with my own freshly baked bread, in the oven with olive oil. Either way though, croutons are awesome with soup.
I thought that the creamed corn, as weird as it sounds, gave the soup some body. The bell pepper, on the other hand, was totally expendable. It didn't really add anything to the soup except that it is a traditional succotash ingredient. I was thinking that next time I might roast the pepper before adding it. I would probably make this soup again (especially since I have half a bag of Lima beans left over). It was a big hit.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Some boneless shortribs that were hiding at Ralph's and a leftover filet from NYE were cut up & marinated overnight with some thyme, some orange zest, and some garlic. I browned this up, then sweated some fennel, onion & carrot, tomatoes, a few sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf. Then came some balsamic reduced to a glaze, some red wine, and some beef stock. This all went in the oven for 3 hrs to braise. The best part - some whole canned tomatoes are split, seasoned with S&P and thyme, and roasted in the oven for an hour and a half - these get tucked in at serving, next time I will make more - yummmm!!
The papardalle gets tossed with some braising liquid and olives after cooking, then spinach & more herbs are wilted into that, with the beef being served atop.
This got rave reviews from everyone, and it makes spectacular leftovers. I really can't recommend this book enough! I am also thinking there must be some other applications for the roasted tomatoes (I mean besides just eating with a loaf of bread).
Friday, January 2, 2009
Every year we do some sort of home gourmet meal with friends and family. Last year, our neighbors had a fun party with lots of us, but this year we did the scaled down version. 7 of us, multiple courses and wines. My husband did the menu layout, here it is with photos, footnotes for the wines.
Canapés (1) - Gougeres and Bresaola with Peppered Chevre
Gougeres were from The French Laundry, but I used some raw milk cheddar instead of gruyere.
Bresaola and chevre idea was a good one, next time with a roasted pepper or sun dried tomato slice.
Salmon Tartare (2)
From Bouchon. Lots of chopping. Mine is not quite as meticulously chopped as the photo from Bouchon, and for some reason there was not enough egg yolk for all the plates.
Mushroom Soup with Truffle Cream
This is Bourdain's soup recipe again, but I added a bit of truffle oil to some heavy cream & frothed it a bit with my immersion blender. Yum!!
Mixed Greens, Pears, Pecans and Stilton (3)
Just a "go to" fancy salad, with Trader Joe's Pear Champaign Vinaigrette
Beef Wellington with Bordelaise and baby carrots (4)
I did individual Wellingtons with Costco filets which I admit were too big. And cheated with a sauce base. But still good!
For after sitting
Gingerbread & Pear Trifle (5)
Our friends Kate & Andy made these, the pears were poached in brandy and the creme anglais had some Bailey's in it - it was fantastic!
For toasting (6) - we had some Godiva chocolates, but we never got to opening them. We went out into the fog and pulled confetti poppers instead.
The sacrifice to ward off evil spirits
(1) Perrier Jouet Fleur de Champagne, 1996
(2) Claiborne and Churchill Pinot Gris, 2007
(3) Bernard Morey et Fils Chassagne Montrachet Vielles Vignes, 2002
(4) Tensley Syrah “bmt” magnum, 2004
(5) Chateau Clos Haut-Peyraguey Sauternes, 2001
(6) Phillipponant Clos Des Goisses Champagne, 1992
I had some leftover mushrooms and onions. I cooked the onions for a long time but left the mushrooms raw. Add a bit of Boursin cheese, 5 minute artisan bread dough - presto ----
It wasn't too pretty, and totally stuck to the pan, but it really tasted good.