Monday, August 18, 2014

....is a Burger with Pickles



There are only a few things more 'summery' than burgers off the grill. These tasty patties are lightly seasoned with salt & pepper, and packed with thin slices of green onion & minced garlic to add a little bite. I served them on homemade dutch oven herb bread rolls with white cheddar, slices of pearl tomatoes and bread & butter pickles.

Oh these wonderful pickles, Cuchon Butcher Bread & Butter Pickles (recipe below). They are delicious, sweet & crunchy, perfection. CPB & I brought back a jar from ouir trip to New Orleans last year. We devoured them quickly and then set out to make out own. I tried a few other recipes before I found the Cuchon recipe and this is definielty the best, but then again I have a food crush on Don Link.

Friday, August 15, 2014

....is Tripple Chocolate Cookies


Happy Friday! It's a super chocolate cookie day today and these Triple Threat Chocolate Cookies are perfect!! The original recipe has a ganache too, used to sandwich two cookies with gooey chocolate center. I think the richness of this cookie goes best with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. However you use it this cookie is the best way to start the weekend. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

....is a Summer Plate for Dinner


When it's too hot to turn on the oven or stand over the stove this is dinner in my house.  We refer to it as 'a plate'. It's a simple dinner of fruits, vegeatables, cheeses, meats, olives, slices of bread or whatever we have lying around. It's great for the heat of the summer because it's quick, easy & delicious. And it isn't heavy, when the plate is cleared I'm satisfied but I don't feel stuffed. The 'plate' works as an appetizer for a larger group too, similar to a meat and cheese board you would find in restaurants.

Monday, August 11, 2014

....is Green Beans & Poach Egg


Yesterday CPB & I set out to make eggs benedict. CPB found a recipe for hollandaise sauce and I've become reasonably good at poaching eggs, so this should have been a slam dunk.

And then everything went wrong.

The hollandaise sauce would not thicken. It was a soupy yellow mess one moment and a broken, scrammbled egg custard the next. Then, I used six eggs to get three reasonably well poached eggs. Two of those three broke the instant they hit the englilsh muffin, and the whites were more of a 'soft poach'. I even switched out the water, after egg fail number 3 made egg flower soup of my poaching water. Our 'eggs benedict' ended up and english muffin with bacon and a soft poached egg, no hollandaise sauce.

This experience reminded me not to get cocky when it comes to new recipes or egg poaching. I like to think I can do everything right the first time but getting my butt kicked by a half a dozen eggs is a refreshing reminder.

The green beans and poached eggs pictured here was from a more sucessfull egg poaching experience. I blanched the green beans and lightly sauteed the plum tomatoes and topped the dish with a drizzle of olive oil and salt & pepper. When punctured the egg yolk created a creamy sauce for the vegetables and made this vegetarian friendly dish rich and delicious.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

....is a Platter of Figs, Menu Two


I love love love cookbooks with interesting graphics or layouts.
I have been known to buy books for those two reasons alone, a well thought out book graphically can even trump content. I have a book called 'How to Drink' where all of the graphics are made only of letters and punctuation, it's wonderful. But I have a habit of collecting cookbooks and using the internet to find recipes instead. I've decided to make a concerted effort to use my cookbooks as more than bookshelf artwork. What better way to start than when cooking for company?

The second evening with the Cooks included more delicious food from a platter of figs. 
The pork loin seasoning was great but it turned out a little dry (I think I cut into it too soon). I added the potatoes & onions to the same baking dish and cooked them with olive oil & rosemary. The same way I remember my grandparents cooked them for sunday dinner when I was little. 

For a side we had tomato & ricotta crostini. Surpisingly tomatoes are a summer fruit, they don't need anything more than a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt to be perfectly sweet and delicious. Of course, anything used to top toasted bread and cheese can't be bad.

I loved our weekend with the Cook family and I hope we can spend time with them again soon!

Monday, August 4, 2014

....is a Platter of Figs, Menu One


After a lovely week in Memphis, with a whirlwind trip to Louisville & Nashville and a day playing hookie with CPB full of good food, beer & baseball I'm back at work today. And back to posting here, this menu is from a few weeks ago when the Cook's came to visit. Mrs. C (aka Pookie), was one of my college roomates, there were 5 of us original to the Harvard House and since then we've been spread across the country but we've still mananged to stay in touch.

The weekend the Cook's came to town was full of good company, including the adorable T-Rex, and meals planned entirely from the cookbook 'A Platter of Figs'. This book reads more like a letter from a friend than a cookbook, the recipes are organized by season and focus on simple preparation emphasizing the key ingredients with minor accents. The title recipe, a platter of figs, describes how much goes in to knowing how to chose the right fig. When you know what to look for, the fig needs little else to showcase it's sweetness and flavor. As the summer heats up I wanted to use the oven as little as possible (the berry crumble is an exception). I looked for recipes that required minimal heat or could be cooked on the grill.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

....is Granola & Yogurt


There's a lot of premade Granola out there, in addition to the first 3/5 ingredients being types of sugar I can't pronounce half of the ingredients listed on the nutrition label. What is thiamine hydrochloride, niacinamide, d-calcium pantothenate or pyridoxine hydrochloride? (Google tells me they're vitamins but they don't sound like they would taste very good.)

I set out to make my own granola with just a few basic ingredients. I've started to keep an assortment of nuts and dried berries in the pantry to easily create a weeks' worth (or more!) of granola at a time. It's made for a quick snack or an easy breakfast. My new favorite breakfast is granola mixed into plain greek yogurt with some fresh blueberries and figs & a drizzle of honey.

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