03 Mar

Good eats!

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It’s another dreary day and I wasn’t feeling motivated to jump right into the shower this morning, so I thought I’d get a jump on dinner for tonight.

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I whipped up a pie for dessert, since it has to set up in the fridge.  We love this super simple dessert, it’s like a chocolate almond truffle in texture and since it uses a graham cracker crust, it couldn’t be more simple.

Dark Chocolate Almond Pie

  • 10 ounces dark chocolate chips
  • 10 ounces heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons almond liqueur
  • 1 graham cracker crust (I used a chocolate one today!)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions:

  1. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer and remove from heat.
  2. Whisk in the dark chocolate chips until they melt, then add the almond liquor.
  3. Pour into the graham cracker crust and cool for two hours, then top with the toasted almonds and some whipping cream.

Since my friend Brad brought some fresh eggs over, I made egg pasta and got it cut out while Jim was in the shower.

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The pasta is always such a beautiful golden color when the eggs are fresh!  I’m making Pasta Ala Amatriciana for dinner tonight, or “easy spaghetti” as I like to call it.

Pasta Ala Amatriciana

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 8 slices smoked bacon, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 cans canned diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • crushed dried red pepper flakes, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • fresh egg pasta

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large skillet; add onion and sauté over medium low heat, until golden. Add bacon, sauté, stirring, until it just starts to brown, but isn’t yet crisp. Add remainder of ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until most of the liquid is reduced.

Serve over fresh pasta and garnish with parmesan cheese.

The sauce is easy to make and won’t take anytime at all to whip up.  Last, I’m trying a new biscuit recipe from King Arthur Flour to go with the pasta.

Carmelized Onion Sourdough Biscuits

  • 14 g unsalted butter
  • 113 g peeled onion, sliced thinly
  • 25 g brown sugar
  • 120 g King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 113 g cold unsalted butter
  • 11 g fresh chives, chopped
  • 255 g sourdough starter, unfed

Directions:

  1. Combine the butter, onion, and sugar in a pan set over medium-low heat. Cook the onions, covered, for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes; they should be nicely caramelized. Transfer the onions to a bowl, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Work the butter into the flour until the mixture is unevenly crumbly.
  4. Toss in the chives and caramelized onions.
  5. Cut in the starter until the dough becomes cohesive. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use a bench knife or bowl scraper to fold it over on itself five or six times, until it comes together.
  6. Use a sharp 2 1/2″ biscuit cutter to cut rounds. Pat the scraps together, and cut additional biscuits.
  7. Bake the biscuits for 15 to 18 minutes, until they’re just turning golden.
  8. Remove the biscuits from the oven, and serve warm with a little bit of butter.

I perched my little mouse over the thread spool on my sewing machine this morning, just so I could admire her some more!

DSCF5543I’m down fourteen pounds!  Still not where I was when we were in New Orleans, but slowly working my way back.  If the weather would cooperate and I could get outside on my bicycle it would help!  I had new handlebars installed on it last week, to put me in a more upright seating position and can’t wait to try them out.

02 Mar

Meet my new helper

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I’ve needed a “helper” to pose in my quilt photos for sometime now… and I finally have one!

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Isn’t she sweet?  I commissioned her from a wonderful artist in Bulgaria.  She’s beautifully made, and I know she will look so sweet posing on my quilts!

I am tickled to say I finished the binding on my quilt of valor this morning, got it washed and it’s draped over my longarm drying, to be delivered shortly!  I’d hoped to have it done a bit sooner, but darned if I didn’t keep stabbing my thumb over and over putting the binding on, and it was either stop and wait while my thumb healed, or get blood all over the quilt!  Nope, I don’t do thimbles.  I’m not coordinated enough to use one, sadly.

I tried two new fabulous recipes this week.  The first, which I will make again and again (both actually, is a French meat pie, called a Tourtière.

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  • one double pie crust, unbaked
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (12 to 14 ounces, 1 large potato)
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1 cup onion, 1 large onion
  • 1 cup celery, 1 to 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic (more to taste), peeled and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • allspice, dash
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In the 2 cups of water and teaspoon of salt, boil the potatoes until they are fork-tender, then drain them, saving the water.
  2. In a large frying pan, brown the meat, draining off any excess fat when finished. Add the onion, celery, garlic, spices and potato water to the meat. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer. Stirring occasionally, continue simmering the mixture for 30 minutes or longer, until the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are tender.
  3. Mash about half of the potato chunks, and add them to the meat. Gently stir in the remaining chunks of potato.
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Assembly:

  1. Take one piece of dough out of the refrigerator, unwrap it, and dust both sides with flour. Roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick (or less if you prefer a thinner crust).
  2. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the dough, and fill it with the cooled meat mixture. Roll out the remaining dough disk, and place it over the filling.
  3. Trim the excess from the dough and crimp the edges together with a fork or your fingers. Baking: Bake the pie in a preheated 450°F oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Reduce the oven heat to 350°F, and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the pie is golden brown. Let the pie cool for 15 minutes or so to set up before slicing. Yield: 1 pie, 10 servings.

And this fabulously simple cabbage dish couldn’t pair more beautifully with it!

Green Cabbage and Apple Sauté

  • 1 1/2 lbs. head green cabbage, halved cored and coarsely shredded (12 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onin, thinly sliced
  • 1 granny smith apples, peeled halved, cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the wine, lemon juice and sugar. Let marinate for 1 hour, tossing often.
  2. In a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the cabbage and its marinade and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 20 minutes. Add the apples and toss well. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Neither lasted long around here!

Siri is growing like crazy.  Today I took her for her first ride in the Jeep, without being in her carrier.  She loved it!  She hopped right up on the console between the seats and sat there like it was a throne, and her royal highness surveyed the land like a queen.  She’s such a character, and I love her dearly!

If we ignore the fact that Cosmo still wants to chase her when she’s on the ground, they are getting along famously.  It’s so cute to watch them play, as Siri will batt Cosmo’s face with her tiny paws, and he’ll play back with his huge teeth, but ever so gently.  Mostly.  :)

22 Feb

Pie Irons

As much camping as my family did when I was a kid, I don’t recall that we ever cooked with pie irons. Cast iron skillets, absolutely!

Jim has enjoyed cooking over an open fire so much that I’ve decided to order some pie irons and learn some simple meals with them. Like these fabulous looking sandwiches!

The recipe is just for grilled cheese sandwiches, but I could make them in a pie iron and they’d be delicious!

Jim and I drove to Little Rock today so we could take Cosmo to Bass Pro. He LOVES going there and so many people stop to talk and pet him that we’re all exhausted when we leave, but it’s good for him and he enjoys it so much!

That left Siri home along for half a day, I’m sure she enjoyed having the house to herself without worrying about Cosmo chasing her for a change. When we got home, I put her harness on her and took her outside for her first leash “walk”.

Of course we only went where she wanted to go, she hunkers down and won’t budge if I pull on the leash, but that’s to be expected until she is leash trained.

Have I mentioned how difficult it is to type with Siri around? Either she’s chasing my fingers as I type, (thank heavens for auto correct) or she’s trying to chase the cursor on the screen if I’m using the mouse.

She’s settled in well enough by now that I want to start taking her on short trips in the Jeep while she’s still young and will adapt. Like Cosmo, she must be a roadie!

They are coming along so nicely. Cosmo does still give chase if Siri is on the ground about fifty percent of the time, but when she’s on the furniture they play nicely together, and it’s adorable to watch.