Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Tale of Two Critters

I have a confession to make. I am a pressure cooking virgin. I have always wanted to learn how to use a pressure cooker, but I admit that I have allowed myself to be intimidated by them for as long as I can remember. But really, if you consider the fact that most of the pressure cookers I have seen, including the one I inherited from Matt’s grandma, are the old-style cooker that was reputed to explode at will if you used them incorrectly. Well, I am not exactly known for following directions precisely, so I just kept my distance from the little Vesuvius.
Recently, I received a newer model cooker from a friend who was cleaning out her house and finally, when Mom came to visit and I felt I had some level of moral support behind me, I decided to give it a shot.
In preparation for the parental visit, I picked up a number of items at the store to cook for them, and I couldn’t resist the lovely looking cross-cut beef shank. Not your usual cut of meat, but it reminded me of the cooking class Mom, my sister, and I took a few Christmases ago, so I though it would be fun.
The shanks were large, so I knew they would not all fit into the cooker, which gave me an idea. Since the pressure cooking is an experiment, let’s try this two ways. I put my pressure cooker to the test, alongside my 14 inch covered Mega Pan. (I love this pan)
This was the process:I seared two of the shanks and put them in the pressure cooker with some onion, celery, carrot and garlic (poised on a piece of foil, twisted like a pretzel to keep the meat off the bottom since I didn’t have a rack that would fit), added a cup of beef broth and a cup of red wine.I repeated the process with the remaining three shanks in my mega pan (except that I realized after sealing the cooker that I forgot to add any seasoning at all, so I tossed in some dried Italian herbs as well). Both pans got covered and the Mega Pan went into a 350 degree oven while the pressure pan stayed on a medium flame on the stove top.
The cooker’s manual said to cook it for about 35 minutes, which we did, but we had our doubts about whether the pan was properly sealed, because the safety lock never popped up, so we left it in a while longer and ended up pulling both pans out at the same time, after about 45 minutes.
When comparing the two side by side, I must say there was not a dramatic difference. The Mega Pan produced a more flavorful meat, partly from the herbs that I added, but not entirely, I don’t think. The meat was tender, but not falling apart.The pressure cooker brought forth a beef shank that was extremely tender, nearly falling apart, and quite tasty as well.I do think if we had removed it from the pan at the 35 minute mark, it would have been about equal to the other example. All in all, a good test! And I’ve decided that either method is great. I’m still a little nervous about the pressure cooker, but I will be intimidated no more! Although, to be honest, the oven method was much simpler, in my own opinion, and I can make more at a time that way, since I am accustomed to cooking large meals. So, you decide! Pressure? Or Pan?
Since I had so much time on my hands, I made my favorite Cream and Leek Risotto to go alongside it. (There is also an ulterior motive here.) I’ve posted this risotto before, but never had any decent pictures, so you’re going to get it again!
Some people are as intimidated by risotto as I am by pressure cookers, but it is really a very simple dish to prepare. The basic ingredients are a good rice (I use Arborio because it is readily available in my area), stock, and some kind of vegetable. There are as many variations as you can imagine.
The original recipe came from The Silver Spoon. For this risotto, you need a couple of nice leeks, thoroughly rinsed and very thinly sliced, using only the whites and light green parts. 2 cups of Arborio rice, a couple of tablespoons of butter, 6 cups chicken stock, ¾ cup heavy cream, and ½ cup parmesan cheese
Start by sautéing the leeks in the butter until soft, about 20 minutes.While you are doing this, warm your chicken stock in another pan. You should always add warm stock to the risotto. Adding cold stock will only slow down the cooking process. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, or in my case, the white wine that was in the glass I was drinking from, then stir in the rice so that all the grains are coated with all the lovely flavors in the pan and the butter is absorbed. A ladle or two at a time, add the stock and allow it to absorb into the rice before each addition, until you have used all six cups. Stir constantly. This will take some time, and you will think there is no way all that liquid will absorb, but trust me, it will. When all the stock is absorbed, stir in the cream. The original recipe says to garnish with the parmesan cheese, which I do, but I also add about a half cup to the risotto at this point.Now, what you have is a savory little side dish that can stand up to any hearty meal you put on the table. However, I must admit, that I sometimes make this dish, simply for the leftovers. Why, you may ask? Well, its like this. Because this recipe makes a fairly large amount, there is always leftover. When that happens (and I insure that it always does) I bring the cold risotto out the next morning, cook up a pound of pork sausage in a pan, then mix it in with the risotto and some more parmesan cheese, and form it into patties.Then I roll it in breadcrumbs and fry those little gems up in a pan.Voila! Breakfast. You just can’t beat this for a morning meal. They do tend to be somewhat fragile in the pan and you want to make sure your pan is good and hot to leave a good crust on the patties, but the effort is well worth the result. Your holiday houseguests will be raving about this one, and calling you Martha Stewart for your ingenuity in using up leftovers. Go ahead, try know you wanna.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Then and Now

Recently, my husband and I went to a local consignment auction and as I was sifting through boxes of cookbooks, the hubs came across a tattered old cookbook whose cover read, “Chesterfield Science Club Cookbook 1913”. Now, Chesterfield being the small Illinois town that he grew up in, he was immediately interested. We know of two other Chesterfield cookbooks, one from the sesquicentennial year in the mid ‘80s, and the Y2K edition, both of which we own. This edition is a typical “contribution” cookbook, with the names of each contributor listed. As Matt’s step dad (among others) was born and raised in Chesterfield, we started looking for names we recognized.

We’ve been flipping through the book here and there (yep, that’s right, my husband was the high bidder and we now own it as well as the other two editions), and while my parents were out here visiting, I thought it would be fun to try a couple of the recipes from the book, just as a kind of throwback to days gone by. Many of the recipes have very little instruction, and even some questionable ingredients, so picking one was a challenge. One recipe jumped out at my mom as she was leafing through the pages. Amber Pie.
I ask you – what exactly makes a pie “amber”? Well, the ingredient list wasn’t much help. It called for 1 ½ cups jam (what kind, you may ask? I chose Strawberry, simply because I didn’t want to waste my jar of fig if the recipe went badly.), 1 ½ cups sour cream, 1 cup sugar, 2 TB flour and 2 eggs.
The directions go something like this.
Mix all together. Take one crock of cream and whip. Pour on top of pie in unbaked shell. Makes enough for two pies.

I. Kid. You. Not.

Do you bake it? If so, how long? At what temperature? You don’t really put the whipped cream on before baking, right?

So, using our common sense (we hoped), we mixed the four pie ingredients together (I halved the recipe to make one pie), poured it into an unbaked crust (yes, I cheated and used a frozen one from the store), and baked it in a moderate oven (350), hopefully until the filling “set”, and, we waited.

At about 30 minutes, the filling was still liquid.
At forty minutes, it was boiling. Spewing fat little bubbles up from the middle of the pie. But the crust was definitely not done. Hmmm....
Ten minutes later, it was a puffing and heaving mass of phlegmy looking curdles that reminded me of a festering cesspool. I was mildly disgusted and somewhat horrified.
Finally, at an hour and ten minutes, there was a distinct change that had taken place, the puffing had subsided and it appeared to be a consistently gelled mass, apart from a bit around the edges that was caramelizing aggressively.
We removed the pie from the oven and allowed it to cool. After lunch, we decided to brave the beast. Cutting small slices from the pie, we passed them around the table, daring each other to take a bite.
As it turns out, it was....not bad. It tasted only vaguely of strawberry, but held a strong resemblance to a curd, in texture. It was intensely sweet, and the whipped cream helped cut the sugar a bit. All in all, not a bad result, if a bit disturbing in the process. I hope to try a few more obscure choices over the next month or so, and bring a taste of historic Illinois to my blog!

Oh, and just to salvage our sense of the present, we also made the Snowball Cake featured on the cover of the last Kraft Foods magazine. It was easy to make and turned out great! A creamy, coconut-y confection that my co-workers were happy to help me get rid of yesterday.

Snowball Cake
1 pkg. (2-layer size) devil's food cake mix
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 egg
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cold milk
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed

HEAT oven to 350ºF.

PREPARE cake batter, in 2-1/2-qt. ovenproof bowl, as directed on package; scrape side of bowl. Beat cream cheese, egg and granulated sugar until well blended; spoon into center of batter in bowl.

BAKE 1 hour 5 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in bowl 10 min. Loosen cake from bowl with knife; invert onto wire rack. Remove bowl. Cool cake completely.

MEANWHILE, beat dry pudding mix, powdered sugar and milk in medium bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in COOL WHIP. Refrigerate until ready to use.

PLACE cake on plate; frost with pudding mixture. Cover with coconut. Keep refrigerated.

Santa, Baby....this won’t fit down my chimney!

Christmas came early at my house this year, in more ways than one. For starters, my parents made a long-awaited trip out from the east coast to visit and catch up with Ty. Naturally, since it is so close to Christmas, we opened a few presents and I just have to say....this is Ty’s year. This year, he really gets it. This year, he is very excited about anta coming (which means we also get to use the “Santa is watching” method of child discipline). This year, he was really able to tear those packages open with a gusto that only another four year old can rival. I can’t wait for Christmas morning.
Its been awhile since I’ve had a “Dad visit” post, but if you have been reading a while, you may remember that my dad can’t come visit without having a ‘to-do’ list to accomplish while he’s here. And that, as you may also know, is just fine with me. This trip, we had a fairly lengthy list, but mainly small items that involve items like repairing a leaky sink, moving some curtain rods, burying the line to our well pump, etc. SO, unlike previous posts, I don’t actually have a lot to show you from the visit, project-wise. There are a couple of things, of course, of which I am particularly enamored.

Number one....bathroom cabinet.
My upstairs bathroom is smaller than my closet. And, being in such a hurry to pick out fixtures when we were remodeling the entire house in one fell swoop, I picked out a lovely, but impractical pedestal sink. Which, of course, left me with ZERO storage in that room. Since his last visit, Dad made me a wonderful cabinet to mount above my toilet to hold all the essentials. It is just perfect. See?
Number two: STOCKINGS!
About three years ago (or more) I bought fabric to make Christmas stockings for me and my boys. Naturally, with Christmas being out-of-sight-out-of-mind most of the year, it just never got done. A big part of the reason was that I never really had anywhere appropriate to hang them. The first year, we hung them from the ledge over the stairs...then we got a new sofa that blocks the ledge. The next year, we hung them off the entertainment center, which was very inconvenient. Last year, I don’t think I even bothered. So, my plan to get this in motion was to commission a new shelf from Daddy Dearest with three perfect little wrought iron hooks on it to hold out stockins during the season, and anything else I choose during the rest of the year. As usual, Dad outdid himself in the details. The shelf is just exactly what the space needed, and now when Matt finally picks out his big screen tv, we’ll have somewhere to put the picture frames that currently reside on the entertainment center. It also pushed me to get the stockings to the local shop to have our names embroidered on the flaps, and then Mom helped me finish them off so I could get them hung as soon as the shelf was mounted. I just love it.And, finally, NUMBER THREE!
In a spontaneous moment, the hubs suggested on Monday that we take our change jar to the bank and see if there was enough in it to buy the new stove I so desperately need. You’ve probably never noticed, but when I post pics of food cooking on the stove, you only see the pan. I never move out far enough that you can see my actual stove....because it was AWFUL. A hand-me-down ten years ago, it was well overdue for replacement. So, yesterday in a fit of practicality, the hubs went to Lowe’s and picked up the model I selected, paid for by our spare change. And, in addition, a new upright freezer to replace the one in our laundry room that has electrical tape holding it shut because the door is slightly bent (due to a fit of irritability by my hubs). The new one is so large, I couldn’t get back far enough from it to get a picture. But hey, a freezer is a freezer. Not only did the hubs bring the new appliances home, he installed them, put all the frozen items in the new freezer (even ORGANIZED, mind you!), AND sent the old ones away to be hauled off for scrap. Fabulous, fabulous day. Merry Christmas to ME!
On to the new light of my life, the main event.....Gigi.
Yep, I named my new stove. Don’t ask me why, I’m just a freak like that. Ain’t she just GORGEOUS? I kinda just wanna lick know? Maybe that’s just me....

Gotta love it...Whirlpool gas range.....5 cubic foot oven....self cleaning.....waist high broiler (hell, ANY broiler would be nice! I've never had one that worked!)....5 burners with continuous friggin' grates!!! What more could a foodie like me ask for?

Anyway, I just had to share...I am officially in appliance heaven, and I can’t wait to go home and cook tonight. Its going to be a Chicken Parm night at my house tonight!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Poor Man's Paella

Believe it or not folks, this recipe is from my ex-husband. (yep, that's right, I am once divorced) I'm actually not sure you can call it a recipe, since it uses mainly prepared food items and only has three ingredients, but even now, it is a standby in my house when I need something fast and easy.

Start by chopping about three boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Season them with salt and pepper if you want and saute them in a little oil until golden and cooked through.While you are cooking the chicken, prepare two packages of Knorr Chicken Rice, according to the directions. While the rice is still pretty liquid, but starting to soften, add in about 3 ounces or so of Velveeta, chopped up, until it melts into the mix.
When the chicken and rice are both done, mix the rice into the pan with the chicken and scrape up any brown bits into the rice. And serve!Ok, so this is absolutely nothing like paella, other than the rice and chicken, but hey, "Poor Man's Paella" is a lot more fun to say than "Cheesy Chicken Rice". Got your attention, didn't it?

In any case, its a cheap, fast, easy, and very satisfying dish for a cold night when you don't much feel like cooking.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'll Walk You On The Plank!

Or, at least, that's what my son would say when he is in pirate-mode. Which, he was! For Halloween this year, my Little Man put on his hat and boots and went as a pirate. Isn't he just an adorable matey??He and his best buddy Brayden both dressed up as pirates and we all made the rounds together. It was the first year he really got into the spirit of the day and we all had a blast. It would have been better without the rain, but it was still a whole lot of fun.

Coconut Spiced Pumpkin Pie

It is the holiday season, and for some reason my son has been asking for pumpkin pie (even though he has never had it before). I suspect it has something to do with an episode of Bob the Builder he watched (for the millionth time) recently. I do like pumpkin pie, but I’ll admit that it has never been a show stopper for me. I don’t eagerly anticipate it when Thanksgiving rolls around, but its good, and I’ll usually have a slice. So, when I agreed to make a pie for the boy (so he’d shut the heck up about it already), I didn’t want to go too traditional. I found this lovely recipe on Tastespotting, and they had me at “coconut milk”. I don’t know what it is about the coconut, but it really made all the difference. Also, I did not put the hazelnut paste in mine, because, well, I couldn’t find any hazelnuts in this po-dunk town. (it’s a conspiracy, I tell ya!) I took this pie to work for the boss’ birthday food table and it went over like hot cakes. Ironically, Ty discovered that Pumpkin Pie isn’t his favorite thing, either, but the poor kid is going to be seeing more of it in our house from now on!

I put the original recipe in here, with my notes in red.

Coconut Spiced Kissed Pumpkin Pie
1 graham crust (I just used the recipe on the side of the box of graham cracker crumbs)
1 1/2 C. hazelnuts – toasted
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 T. pumpkin pie spice blend
1 t. salt
1 T. arrowroot or cornstarch
1 1/2 C. roasted pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin (if you use canned pumpkin, its one 15 ounce can)
1 t. vanilla extract
3 extra large eggs – lightly beaten (really? Who uses extra large eggs? I converted to 4 large eggs)
1 C. coconut milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the middle.
Puree 1 1/2 cups of the toasted hazelnuts in a food processor until they turn into a hazelnut paste, past the ‘crumble’ stage. Set aside. Chop the remaining 1/2 cup of hazelnuts and set aside separately, these will be sprinkled on top after the pie is baked.
To make the pumpkin pie filling, whisk together the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice blend, salt, and cornstarch. Stir in the pumpkin puree, and vanilla. Now stir in the eggs and coconut milk until just combined. Set aside.
Before filling the pie crust, crumble the hazelnut paste on top of the pie dough into the pie plate, quickly and gently press it into a thin layer across the bottom creating a layer of hazlenuts that will sit between the dough and the filling. Using the last egg gently brush the decorative edges of the pie dough. (Ok, I missed the part in the ingredient list where it said to save an egg for the crust. Because it didn’t say that….I was confused. All of mine went into the batter, and I used a graham crust anyway, so I didn’t need the extra egg. It turned out fine.) Use a fork to prick the pie dough a few times to prevent air bubbles. Fill the pie crust with the filling and bake for about 50 minutes – the center of the pie should just barely jiggle when you move the pie – the edges should be set. (I ended up cooking mine quite a bit longer, maybe by 20 extra minutes or more.)
Let the pie cool a bit, this makes slicing less messy. Serve straight or with a dollop of sweetenend whipped cream or ice cream.
Makes one 9 or 10-inch pie.


This post has been a long while in the making and is considerably overdue. Today I picked up my Log Cabin quilt from the quilter. I still have to take it home and bind it this weekend, but I have it back.
This quilt is only the second quilt I have ever made...for myself. The first was only recently, as well, and was a t-shirt quilt made of all my beloved Alpha Phi Omega shirts from college. The Log Cabin is the quilt I have always wanted to see on my rustic bed in my little country school house and I went to great pains to make sure it was exactly what I wanted it to be. I can't wait to get it home and put the blue binding on it this weekend so it can be on display for the holidays.(a view of the borders from the reverse)(two of the three borders from the front)(detail on the blocks)(center shot, showing the "Barn Raising" pattern)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Butterbean Soup

I can't believe how the last few weeks have flown by! I have not had time to do much cooking at all, and, obviously, no blogging! Well, I'm back again, and I've got some new recipes in mind with the holidays coming up, so I'm going to try and get back on track, starting with this recipe.

Back when I was just someone's ambitious girlfriend, and still learning to cook, I often experimented with ingredients I wasn't familiar with. When I first met Matt, I decided to try butterbeans. I had never had them before, but they looked kind of like lima beans, which I was familiar with and enjoyed growing up. Being the naiive little aspiring cook that I was, I thought they could just be warmed and eaten as a side dish. Matt was a trooper (should have written THAT date on the calendar!), but clearly I was on the wrong track and I did not try them again.
Down the road, we moved back to Matt's small-town home and his mother couldn't wait to take me to their local chili parlor. I can honestly say I was less than impressed with the "famous" chili (if you have to spoon a layer of grease off the top of the bowl before you eat it, I'm really not interested), but I was intrigued by another menu item. Butter Bean Soup. Now, I am a soup girl, no doubt about it, but I had never heard of butter bean soup. Over the years, I have come across a number of recipes for it, and this one is the closest to the real deal that I have found. Although I still don't eat the chili there, on the occasional rainy day (like today) I will run over there and pick up a large bowl of Butter Bean "With" (meaning I want a dollop of their seasoned chili meat plopped in the center of the dish for extra flavor) and it really hits the spot. Hearty, with just a little bit of a kick, its a great cold weather treat.

Butter Bean Soup
5 cans of large butter beans
1 can tomato sauce
2 sticks of butter
3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and let simmer for a couple of hours. Although it is just fine right out of the pot, it will thicken up in the fridge and is much better the next day. Since it started raining around 7:00 Sunday morning and is predicted to keep it up for the next few days, I made a pot of this on Sunday afternoon for us to eat on all this week.

I topped this with a spoonful of chili dog topping. The same chili parlor markets their own brand, but you can find many other varieties readily available on the market as well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cook the Books - Poulet a la Creme for French Lessons

With the impending demise of Tyler Florence Fridays, and the fact that my ever-expanding waistline will no longer allow me to participate in My Girl Paula!, I was very excited to discover two cooking clubs that I can have more bloggy fun with. The first is I Heart Cooking Clubs, which right now is featuring Nigella Lawson. The second, is Cook the Books. This club chooses food-related novels to read every other month, and then each member aims to make a dish inspired by the book. I was anxious to get started, but had a bit of trouble getting a copy of the most recent selection and was worried that I might not make the November deadline. Not to worry, my bloggerriffic friends! I enjoyed the book so much, that I tore through it in just a few days and have two recipes selected to highlight. The first, I will post today, while the second will depend on the availability of the ingredients I need.French Lessons, by Peter Mayle, at first struck me as an arrogant account of one man’s travels through France on a no-holds-barred mission to eat and get drunk, with a seemingly limitless line of credit. However, the more I read, the more I enjoyed his tongue-in-cheek style and laughed out loud at some moments I could totally relate to. Mayle dedicates each chapter to a specific foodie subject matter, generally centered around a celebration, fair, or eating competition. In his chapter on the famous chicken of Bresse, he describes a meal he and his cohort enjoy at a local restaurant. Poulet a la Crème. I have no doubt that it was amazing in its own right and that I can in no way compete with the Bresse Chicken, however, I had to give it a shot. Any recipe that calls for an entire quart of cream is okay by me. I was intrigued. I managed to find one site (Colloquial Cooking) online that had a reasonable semblance of a recipe to follow, which, in turn, turned out to be almost identical to the brief description of the dish in French Lessons, which I imagined to be far too simplified.

I was mistaken. This dish is entirely too easy to make, and amazingly delicious. I’ll give you a brief rundown of how I made mine.

Salt and pepper four skin-on chicken breasts and four thighs.Melt an entire stick of butter in a large skillet.
Brown the chicken, skin side down first, being careful not to burn the butter.Turn the chicken, and add one large onion, roughly chopped, four cloves of garlic, smashed, some mushrooms (if you’re not allergic, like I am) and a bouquet garni (mine had chives, sage, and oregano, because that’s what is still alive in my garden).Brown the chicken on the second side, then remove to a pan while you make the sauce. If there is too much butter left in the pan, spoon it out. Deglaze the pan with a glass of white wine, scraping up all the brown bits.Let the wine cook down for a moment, then return the chicken to the pan and pour in the entire quart of heavy cream.Cover and let simmer at least 30 minutes, or until your chicken is cooked through (mine took closer to an hour).
Remove the chicken and add the juice of a small lemon to the pan. Let the sauce simmer and reduce until it thickens slightly (and I mean, slightly. I couldn’t get much reduction at all. And, really, at this point, you don’t care, it smells so good you’ll be tempted to just stick your face in the pan and lap it up).
Serve the chicken up with rice (if you have it, if not, just tear the bone out of it, as my husband would say). Drizzle the chicken with the sauce, or do like I did and serve a dish of the sauce on the side and dunk your chicken bits as you pull them off the bone.All I can say is “wow”. This was crazy good, although I don’t think I can make it often or I may start to look like Peter Mayle. If you’re not on a diet, give this a try, and feel just a little bit French while you’re wandering around the kitchen finishing the rest of the bottle of wine...oh wait, maybe that’s just me....

Jo will be hosting the roundup for French Lessons. Check back after November 8th to see the roundup!

Anyway, just a small note, I would recommend eating this straight out of the pan. It is pretty decent reheated, but you know how cream sauces can get kind of nasty and separated. It was definitely better the first night. Bon Appetit!

Because I am such a bad influence on Ginny, she felt compelled to make this dish, too, and sent me a picture of her results!She also made a lovely cauliflower gratin she found on the same site where I got the chicken recipe.

Sausage Hoagies

Here is a super easy weeknight meal that my husband always looks forward to. I'm sorry, but even a monkey can make this, if I monkey would use a knife.

What I do:
Take two packages of Johnsonville or other "italian" sausage links. I usually get one Sweet and one Hot, so there is some variety in the pot.
Cut each raw link into four chunks and put in a crock pot.
Slice one medium onion, and put it in the pot.
If I have them, I slice two bell peppers in various colors (red and green are very festive) and throw them in, too.
Top with an entire jar of your favorite pasta sauce.
Fill the same jar halfway with water (at the same time, rinsing the jar for the recycle bin!) and pour the water in the pot.Cook on low while you're at work.
Come home to a house that smells like a great little corner deli and serve your sausage up on hoagie rolls with parmesan cheese. Yum!
Its a perfect meal for a cold weeknight. Makre sure you check the pot as soon as you get home, and don't go shopping after work or anything, because if you leave these in too long, they will scorch and be less appetizing.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tyler Florence Fridays - Farewell Roundup

Sitting back, remembering all the fun I had making dishes to submit to Tyler Florence Fridays, I felt like taking a look back at all the mouth watering recipes I put together. I thought as one final "hurrah!" for TFF, I'd do a little roundup of my own, showcasing all the best pictures of those recipes and links to each of the posts. I did have a few other Tyler Florence recipes thrown in here and there, but these are the ones I actually submitted to the weekly roundups. I hope you've all enjoyed it as much as I have! Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Tolan's Pregnancy Pasta
This was my first entry to TFF, and it was so good, you could really say it got the ball rolling!

Arborio Rice PuddingRice pudding has long been a favorite dessert of mine, and this one did not disappoint.Braised Beef Brisket I had never made a brisket before and I admit it was a little intimidating, especially when I always thought of brisket as a cut that you smoke not roast. It turned out better than I could have imagined.Garlic and Herb Roast Lobster This was by far the most interesting entry I made. I do love some lobster, and for this one I was willing to butcher it myself! You can tell by the awful shadows that this was still before I built myself a light box.Penne with Spicy Italian Sausage One of the easiest recipes ever, and a big hit with the hubs!Baked Lime Pudding Cakes A fun twist on Tyler's recipe.Perfect Roast Chicken A classic menu item that in all my years of cooking and experimenting, I had never attempted. It was fantastic!Salt Crusted Porterhouse This one was for my husband. A special treat after a rough week.Thai Grilled Beef These little babies packed a punch! What a great treat for a summer evening.Roasted Tomatillo Salsa This salsa was the post that got me on Tyler's own blog! Just look at that gorgeous green!Greek Yogurt with Fig and Honey, Date and Honey Swirl Ginny and I made this one during one of her visits and it is still a favorite. What a rich little indulgence.Grilled Cheese (Smoked Mozzarella and Basil Pesto)and Roasted Tomato Soup with Fresh Basil These recipes were both good, although neither one blew me away.Grilled Honey Teriyaki Chicken Another success on the grill! For this one, I took over control of the "man zone" and wielded the tongs myself!French Onion Soup Possibly my all time favorite soup. What a great cool weather dish.Asian Egg Drop Soup Another recipe that definitely didn't rock my world, but we jazzed it up and turned it into something fabulous.Pasta Carbonara And finally, we're back to the beginning again with Pasta Carbonara revisited. We put a different twist on it and enjoyed it all over again. We came full circle!

I had a great time making all of these great recipes, and I can't wait to move on as a part of I Heart Cooking Clubs, and Cook the Books. I am looking forward to trying lots of great new dishes and sharing them with you! I hope you'll join me in the fun!