Monthly Archives: December 2012

looking forward…

It may be bitterly cold outside, but it is toasty warm inside. So with a hot cup of silky hot chocolate [all dolled up with a creamy dollop of whipped cream] in hand, I decided that in preparation for the new year and the idea of making many new and exciting recipes, I dug out some of my favorite old cookbooks and read up on some recipes that have not made it to my dinner table yet.
In addition, I thought of perhaps attempting a slight format change in regard to postings… rather than just talking about dinners and desserts, evenings out, etc., I am going to try and share candid shots of interesting elements that may appear when I visit specialty food markets, favorite kitchen supply stores, wine stores, farmers markets, as well as talking about seasonal fruits and veggies [and a recipe that goes along with each].
This will all be a gradual process, but the thought of trying to move in an exciting new direction makes me yearn to share even more with those who have all been there since the blog went live!
So with that I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and look forward to sharing with and hearing from everyone in 2013!

at a low simmer…
-R

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for the big guy…

Knowing he had a long night ahead… a large shot of milk and some homemade Christmas tree shaped linzer cookies to help make the trip smoother!

Merry Christmas!

at a low simmer…
-R

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from chopsticks… with love

After a weekend full of shopping, baking, entertaining and of course eating… twas time for Sunday night dinner!
Since I was told to take the night off, what better meal to enjoy than some incredible Chinese food paired with a bottle of crisp, Sauvignon Blanc.
The phone rang and rang, the order eventually placed, then before we knew it the doorbell rang and it was time to chow down!
Chopsticks in hand, wine glasses filled… time to go from starving to completely satisfied.
Sweet and spicy, crisp and crunchy… our tastebuds were on an insane mission, but made their way through unscathed..

at a low simmer…
-R

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spicing things up!

So tonight, after a long day, I craved something delicious, yet simple to prepare… I decided on a spicy chicken dish that I have made in the past and always enjoyed.
First things first… a solid prep of all necessary ingredients so my cooking is fun and not feeling like a chore! Diced onions, charred tomatillos and jalapeños, minced garlic, chicken thighs that I salted, some chicken stock, freshly squeezed lime juice/zest and a hit of white wine.
I browned the chicken and set it aside, next the onions got a workout and sweated like they have never sweated before… once the onions were softened, the garlic was tossed in to cook for a few. The chopped tomatillos and jalapeños were stirred in, along with some white wine. Once slightly reduced, in went the chicken stock and fresh lime juice and zest. A nice sprinkling of salt and a quick taste to be certain we took the correct turn at the ‘light’ and were headed in the right direction!
Once everything was A-OK, the chicken was nuzzled back in to the liquid, brought to a boil [then dropped to a simmer], covered and cooked for twenty-five minutes. After twenty-five minutes, the lid came off and cooked for another twenty until the sauce reduced a bit more.
A quick final taste for seasoning and it was time to plate this up…
Perfectly spicy, slightly zesty and full of all the wonderful flavors one would expect!

at a low simmer…
-R

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naughty and nice…

I can hear the sleigh bells in the distance and see the occasional mistletoe overhead… So I decided it’s the perfect time to make little treat bags to hand out to all our favorite friends.
These treat bags include homemade spicy, chocolatey brownies decorated two ways… one drizzled with white chocolate + sprinkles and the other… simply coated in a white dusting of powdered sugar snow.
In addition to the brownies, linzer tarts filled with raspberry jam in the shape of snow flakes. To finish off these little dreamy cookies, some powdered sugar to dress it for the occasion.
Once everything was bagged up, it was time to write out the name tags, seal off the bags and deliver! Now it’s time to fill the sleigh [ok ok SUV] and make deliveries in the AM…

at a low simmer…
-R

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meat and potatoes…

So what better way to warm up on a chilly night than with a hearty bowl of beef stew piled high atop creamy and oh so delicious yukon gold mashed potatoes!
I started by browning the meat [tossed with flour and seasoned with salt]… once browned the meat was set aside and some new olive oil went down into the pot! Then in went six carrots and celery, along with four leeks that I chopped up. Some more salt and a bunch of stirring helped soften the veggies and also scrape off the yummy goodness that formed on the bottom of the pot! After the veggies were smelling amazing, in went some chopped garlic [go crazy] and a can of tomato paste… some additional stirring ensued until the paste almost melted away and just offered a beautiful richness in the pot!
Next came one of my favorites… two bottles of Guinness [stirred and reduced]. Once reduced, the meat went back into the pot and was covered with a quart of chicken stock, four bay leaves and a bundle of thyme!
Brought to a boil and reduced to a simmer, this lovely concoction cooked away for a little over an hour…
The last thing to do?? Plate over some velvety yukon gold mashed potatoes and enjoy like ravaged beasts!

at a low simmer…
-R

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latke love…

So to join in on the holiday festivities of some friends, I decided to create a light meal of latkes and homemade applesauce.
The latkes were a combination of potatoes [grated in the food processor], salt, freshly ground pepper, eggs and flour. These needed to be seasoned appropriately to make sure they didn’t taste like cardboard. Everything was combined by hand and then spooned into a hot, non-stick pan with butter. Each latke was cooked until browned and then flipped until the other side was also browned. Total cooking time was roughly five minutes per side… Once browned, the latkes were placed into the oven on a low temp to keep warm.
For the applesauce, I used four Honeycrisp apples that I peeled and cored. Into a cast iron pot they went, along with four tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, a pinch of salt, some freshly squeezed lemon juice and orange juice, a secret spice [sorry can’t tell you that, but you can add some cinnamon] and a teaspoon of vanilla… The pot went into the oven covered for about an hour and a half until the apples were softened and could be easily mashed…
After everything was said and done, it was time to sit down and enjoy! This special meal was well received…

at a low simmer…
-R

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Brown, bubbly and beautiful…

So yesterday I whipped up two luxuriously creamy chicken pot pies to send off to a very dear friend! These pot pies hold the secrets of healing like a good ole’ bowl of chicken soup would…
Filled with gorgeous carrots and onions, juicy chunks of chicken and vibrant sweet peas! Everything was cooked together in a sultry, saucy mixture of homemade chicken stock, flour and of course some cream to make this super special and silky. Then this beautiful filling was ladled into ovenproof bowls, tucked in with a puffed pastry blanket, brushed with an egg wash and then took a long nap in the oven…
After an hour, the puffed pastry was golden brown and the creamy filling, bubbly and piping hot.
Once cooled, it was time to carefully wrap this yummy package and send it on its way…

at a low simmer…
-R

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sticky and sweet!!

With the holidays in full effect, it’s time to celebrate all things sweet!
Tonight we are heading off to a holiday party and I’ll be the bearer of good gifts, sticky toffee pudding.
This recipe takes a little time to make, about an hour and a half + tons of butter and plenty of boozy goodness [to add to the holiday cheer], but believe me its worth the calories [and heck it’s the holidays]!
I’m including the full recipe since baking is a science and you should stick to the steps to get it right. I highly recommend trying this dessert, it’s sticky, dense, buttery and sweet! It’s guaranteed to leave the partygoers cheering for more!

Ingredients
For the ‘pudding’:
2 cups medjool dates [pits removed]
3/4 cup spiced rum
3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
3.5 cups flour
1 tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch salt
2 cups light brown sugar [lightly packed]
1 stick butter [at room temp]
3 extra large eggs

For toffee sauce:
3 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup cognac
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350*.
Butter a 9×13 baking dish.
To make the ‘pudding’:
Combine dates, rum and 3/4 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for five to seven minutes. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract. Let liquid cool, and then purée in a food processor. Set aside
While the purée is cooling, sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Combine the brown sugar and butter in a standing mixer on medium-high. Beat until combined. Next, beat eggs in one at a time. Then carefully mix in the flour mixture in thirds on low speed. Lastly, stir in the cooled purée.
Pour batter into the baking dish and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes [cake tester should be clean].
For the toffee sauce:
Make this while the ‘pudding’ is baking. Combine the butter, sugar, cognac and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking consistently. Cook until it thickens to a slightly saucy consistency, roughly 15 minutes.
For the finale, Remove the pudding and let cool for ten minutes. Using a skewer poke holes in the pudding about every inch or so [go crazy].
Pour half of the sauce over the cake and let it soak in for at least 20 minutes.
When serving [should be warm], drizzle some more sauce and finish with a nice dollop of freshly made whipped cream!

at a low simmer…
-R

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nuts about these cookies!!

Tonight I felt like something a bit sweet, so I decided to crank out some pignoli cookies using an old family recipe…
For something that may seem intimidating, the recipe is actually quite simple to follow! Almond paste, confectioners sugar, egg whites, salt, honey, cinnamon and pine nuts all make up these mounds of delight…
After following the recipe, piping these little guys out and baking them off, all that was left was to EAT, EAT, EAT!!!
These cookies were wonderfully light, and crisp with beautifully chewy-centers… I always remember these cookies from when I was little and now I know why!!

at a low simmer…
-R

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