Thursday, September 18, 2014 the Heart of the Artichoke

Today is an exciting day! I'm heading up to Sacramento with CPB to meet up with my little brother, HLCIII & his lovely girlfriend HV, to go to our cousin's wedding in Sonoma. More on that later, I was lucky enough to help her with some fun wedding projects I'll share soon.

This past July our other Hamilton girl cousin, Cassie, got married! It was a beautiful day and we had a great time celebrating Cassie & Todd. We also got to spend some time with Ashley & her fiancé Joe, and one evening we had a wonderful dinner party with them, HLCIII, HV & two of Joe's friends that live in San Diego. After a great morning with Ashley, including a yoga class at Mosaic, lunch at Mona Lisa Deli, and a beer from bottlecraft. We used my other David Tanis cookbook, Heart of the Artichoke, to help inspire the menu. (When the Cook's visited I used his 'Platter of Figs' cookbook the whole weekend, you can see Menu One & Menu Two.)

Tonights Menu:
Greek-ish Salad
Grilled Squash & Mozzarella
Herbed Rice
Grilled Salmon with Rosemary & Lemon
Dutch Oven French Bread

Monday, September 15, 2014 Jambalaya Stuffed Bell Peppers

Apart from one day in May yesterday was probably the hottest day of the summer and coincidentally the sdame day CPB and I decided Jambalaya Stuffed Bell Peppers sounded like an amazing lunch. Why I thought turning on the oven was a good idea is beyond me. The living room did not cool off until after 9pm. September 14th might not seem like summer to most of the country but in San Diego we were holding strong at 90 degrees on the coast (and 100+ inland), extremely unusual for this time of year. 

The Jambalaya takes about an hour from beginning to end and then the stuffed peppers another 30 minutes finished in the oven. And while I don't recommend using an oven when your house has poor ventilation and lacks air conditioning, it was a sucessful dish. There will be plenty of leftover Jambalaya, you can probably make 12 or so stuffed peppers with the below recipe. The Jambalaya recipe is a cumulative recipe from CPB's family and some of the New Orleans cookbooks we own. It is lovely on its own, with a little chipotle tabasco or cajun garlic sauce sprinkled on top.

Friday, August 22, 2014 Tea & Crumpets

Last year I made Buttermilk Crumpets, the first and only time I've made them and when they came up in conversation with MMcK on what to bake next I decided it was time to tryagain but with a new recipe. It wasn't that the buttermilk crumpets were bad, they just didn't quite fit the memory of afternoon crumpets with my Aunt. I found this Bobby Flay recipe that appeared to be a little more traditional and decided to give it a try. They were soft and airy but didn't brown or get a light crust quite the way I expected. I prefered these over the buttermilk ones but I will have to keep trying new recipes.

Serve topped with butter, honey and a mug of warm tea & milk. Enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2014 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 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 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 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.


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