Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Ultimate Chicken Wings with Curry-Lime Butter

Chicken Wings

Every week I have a hard decision to make. And no, I'm not talking about what to watch on my TIVO line-up (though that is a tough one sometimes), I'm talking about what Tyler Florence recipe to make for Tyler Florence Fridays. One recipe that I kept coming back to time and time again, was The Ultimate Chicken Wings with Curry-Lime Butter from Tyler's Ultimate. What's not to like in that title, I mean really, chicken wings, curry, lime, butter, it all sounds good!

While these chicken wings tasted good (especially the next day, when I rebaked them and they got all glazed and crispy), I made a few notes of things that I might do differently. A few of the things I noted: the wings were left whole - next time I would discard the tips and separate the 2 parts, one baking sheet was not enough - my wings were too crowded which impacted how crisp they got, and the oven could have probably been a little hotter.

So, today, when I was getting ready to type in this post, I went searching for the recipe online, so that I wouldn't have to go back upstairs and get the book! And what did I find? A version of the recipe that looked exactly how I envisioned it would look with all the changes I would have made!!! Here is the recipe on-line by Tyler for Food & Wine, The Ultimate Chicken Wings with Curry-Lime Butter. Seriously, how cool is that? All of the changes that I noted were included. I don't consider myself very talented when it comes to cooking..I basically follow the instructions, so it was nice to see that I was right on the money with these changes.

The Ultimate Chicken Wings with Curry-Lime Butter
From Food & Wine
Serves 4 to 6

4 pounds chicken wings, tips discarded, wings separated into 2 pieces
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1 tablespoon honey
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 475°. Spread the wings on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss. Bake the wings for about 40 minutes, or until browned and crisp.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, blend the butter with the curry paste, honey, lime juice and zest and soy sauce. When the wings are done, transfer them to the bowl and toss with the butter until well coated. Transfer the wings to a platter and serve.

P.S. Happy New Year!!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Garden Tuesday - Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus

I know..I know..once again my garden photo was taken inside. I know that's cheating. But one: it's cold outside and everything is brown, and two: my Christmas cactus finally was actually, really, seriously blooming on Christmas!! This is the first year ever where it was still blooming on Christmas and not only blooming, but looking quite smashing if I do say so myself.

If the sun comes out and it gets above 40, I promise, I'll go outside and take a picture of something for next week. But I warn you, it will probably be brown.

Monday, December 29, 2008



Yes, I know this is basically a cooking blog. And, yes I know, you were probably expecting a cornbread recipe. I've made cornbread from scratch and it's not all that difficult. But you know what? This is my favorite, and apparently, according to the box, America agrees with me. I'll be having this on New Years Day with my Hoppin' John and Collard Greens.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Weekend Cat Blogging #186

Patchouli hopes everyone finds a nice warm, sunny spot to curl up and enjoy the holiday season! She plans on staying in this New Years and celebrating with copious amounts of catnip.

This week's Weekend Cat Blogging is being hosted by Salome at Paulchen's Food Blog.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Olives with Rosemary and Orange

Tyler's Olives

I have the perfect recipe for your holiday parties! Now, I know it's too late for your Christmas parties, but you are going to a New Years Eve party, aren't you?? Well, I for one, probably aren't (I prefer to stay in the comfort of my own home with my own private party with food and some bubbly). You can be assured that I will make these olives again for New Years, and probably for just about any other occasion that I can think say Tuesday..for example!

These olives are so quick and easy, they are my entry for Tyler Florence Fridays, which I am managing to squeeze in, just in the nick of time. They come from Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Any Time

Olives with Rosemary and Orange

1 pound mixed olives
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 rosemary sprigs
2 orange slices
2 hot chilies
2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Place the olives in a jar that just fits them without packing tightly. Combine the garlic, rosemary, orange slices, chilies, and olive oil in a saucepan and bring slowly to a simmer to infuse the oil and soften the garlic.

Pour the oil over the olives and let cool. Serve at room temperature.

*Note, I marinated mine on the counter for a couple of hours because that's how much time I had before I had to scoop them out and take them to a party. And, please, by all means, be selfish like I did, which is scoop out enough to fill a small fancy dish and keep a few in the oil for yourself later. You know there is all kinds of uses for that yummy olive, garlic, rosemary and orange infused oil!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Oh No!

I just realized that it's the day before Christmas...Christmas Eve...and I have not watched:






or even


and not this


or this


My youngest daughter calls the day after Christmas, Christmas Adam. After all if the day before is Christmas Eve, shouldn't the day after be Christmas Adam? She was about 7 years old when she thought of this. I personally think she is a genius, but I might be biased!

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukkah or whatever you celebrate!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Moomies Buns

Moomies Buns

When I got my first bread machine, many moons ago, I discovered King Arthur bread flour. Then, I discovered their website and their forum on bread baking and found the famous Moomies Buns recipe. If you've done any kind of searching on the internet for bread baking or rolls, you've probably stumbled upon the Moomies Buns recipe. If you like making bread or rolls and you haven't tried these, you really owe it to yourself. They are amazing. I make them as dinner rolls for every holiday and whenever else I need rolls. They are light as air and soft and squishy. They are perfect.

Moomies Buns
(makes 8 hamburger size buns, I usually make 12 dinner rolls)

1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast


Place all ingredients in your bread machine. Select the dough cycle. Allow to run cycle.

Dump out onto lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 (or how ever many you are making) pieces. With each piece, slap into a bun shape. Usually four or five slaps will do it. Place on greased cookie sheets or your bun pans, cover; rise about 30 to 40 minutes.

Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes till golden.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Vintage Ornaments


I mentioned in a previous post that in my attempt to Patchouli-proof our Christmas tree, that I had sorted out all of the glass ornaments. I really hated to be without my small collection of vintage ornaments (from my grandmother), and I searched around for a place she couldn't reach. I found the perfect place! My dining room chandelier! So, until she learns how to climb a ladder, all is safe.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weekend Cat Blogging #185


For this week's Weekend Cat Blogging, I went back in the kitty cat archives of photos. This is one of my favorite photos of Scrappycat from a few years ago, all sprawled out under the tree. Now, that she's old, she doesn't pose for pictures much anymore, preferring to spend her time sleeping and eating!

This week, Weekend Cat Blogging is being hosted by Mr. Tigger and M-Cats Club!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Barley Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

Barley Risotto

Okay. You know what I just discovered? Risotto in the pressure cooker! And you want to know what else I just discovered? Barley risotto! To be more specific, barley risotto in the pressure cooker. Oh my goodness. Did you all know that you could make risottos in the pressure cooker?? I had no idea. I've been trying to add more whole grain recipes to my weekly cooking, and decided that I really had to have Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass. She is already the queen of pressure cookers, so I'm not surprised that she has included several pressure cooker recipes for whole grains.

This was wonderful! It was warm and comforting and filling and best of all ready in about 30 minutes from start to finish! Really! I am not a vegetarian and unlike a lot of vegetarian recipes, this did not leave me feeling like I was missing something. My store didn't have any porcini mushrooms, so I used some shitakes instead (they weren't dehydrated, but I soaked them in the water anyway). Serve this with a salad and you have a very easy weeknight meal!

Barley Risotto with Wild Mushrooms
Serves 4 - 6

1/2 ounce (about 1/2 cup) dried porcini or other dried mushrooms, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks (white and light green parts)
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 cup pearl barley
2 tablespoons black barley (optional)
1/3 cup dry sherry (or red wine)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3-6 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Place the mushrooms in a glass bowl and pour 2 cups of boiling water over them. Cover and let soak.

In a 4-quart or larger pressure cooker, heat the oil. Add the leeks and the fennel seeds and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until leeks are softened, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the barley, stirring it to coat it with the oil. Add the sherry and cook until it evaporates. Stir in the broth. Add the soaked mushrooms with their soaking liquid, taking care to not pour in any grit that may have settled in the bottom of the bowl.

Lock the pressure cooker lid in place and bring the cooker up to high pressure over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain the pressure at high and cook for 18 minutes. Release the pressure by placing the cooker under cold running water. Remove the lid, being careful to tilt it away from you to avoid the steam.

Set the cooker, uncovered, over high heat and cook, stirring frequently until the barley is tender (it will still be a little chewy) and the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and add the parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, ladle it into bowls, and top with Parmesan if desired.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Exit Ghost - Philip Roth

Exit Ghost

With the reading of Exit Ghost (Vintage International)
by Philip Roth. I complete my Notable Book Challenge for the year! Yay! I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to do it next year. It actually gets easier because it is turning into a perpetual challenge, which is basically read as many of the notable books as you want. Sounds pretty simple, the only problem is that I was not all that thrilled with some of my choices this year, true I did find and love The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Heart-Shaped Box which I may not have discovered had I not just randomly chosen them from the lists. I think next year, I will be more selective in my choices. I think I will try again for five books. Did you notice what happened in this paragraph? I started out saying I wasn't sure if I was going to do it, and then by the end I've decided to read 5 books! That's me..wishy washy.

So, anyway back to my review of Exit Ghost. Apparently is the eleventh book by Philip Roth to feature Nathan Zuckerman, and the final book in the series. From the book jacket:

Like Rip Van Winkle returning to his hometown to find that all has changed, Nathan Zuckerman comes back to New York, the city he left eleven years before. Alone on his New England mountain, Zuckerman has been nothing but a writer; no voices, no media, no terrorist threats, no women, no news, no tasks other than his work and the enduring of old age.

Walking the street like a revenant, he quickly makes three connections that explode his carefully protected solitude. One is with a young couple with whom, in a rash moment, he offers to swap homes. The second is with a figure from Zuckermna's youth Amy Bellette, companion and muse to Zuckermna's first literary hero, E.I. Lonoff. The third connection is with Lonoff's would-be biographer, a young literary hound who will do and say nearly anything to get to Lonoff's "great secret."

I liked this book, it was an enjoyable read. Again, it would probably not have been a book I would have normally chosen. I found the trials and tribulations of the aging character interesting and believable.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sicilian-Syle Spaghetti - Tyler Florence

Sicilian-Style Spaghetti

I've tossed around two different ways to introduce this post. One..Tyler Florence and his use of pans, or two...having a discriminating palate. Where to begin? Okay, let's start with Tyler. I love Tyler, so much so that I joined Tyler Florence Fridays and Tyler, well, Tyler loves his pots, pans and dishes. So, one of my first notes about this recipe, as I was making it, was that I will combine a few of the steps next time and save a few pots. There is a pot for the pasta, a saute pan for cauliflower, a cookie sheet for the breadcrumbs, and a bowl to toss it in. Now, Tyler doesn't mention the pine nuts, but they are supposed to be toasted, and I don't know about you, but mine don't come toasted, so there is a small skillet for that. I was even so cocky to mention in my notes that this may very well be "The Ultimate" way to make this, but that next time I will do it differently. Well, that was before I tasted it. Oh my gosh! This was wonderful. Seriously wonderful. So good, that I am afraid to change anything.

The second thing I wanted to mention was discriminating palates. Not that I have one or anything like that. But when I reheated this the next day at work, people were complaining that it smelled bad. I know cooked cauliflower may not have the most appetising aroma and then when I said that maybe they were smelling the anchovies, they looked at me aghast. I tried to argue that it was great, the combination of cauliflower, anchovies, raisins and pine nuts, was outstanding. Now they were really looking at me with disbelief, another teacher said that she didn't even know what a pine nut was. What's up with people and their lack of adventure in their cooking and eating??

Sicilian-Syle Spaghetti
Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Any Time
Serves 4

Kosher salt
q head of cauliflower; cored and broken into small florets
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 anchovy fillets, mashed to a paste with the side of a large knife
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound spaghetti
Leaves from 1/2 small bunch of parsley, chopped
juice of 1/2 a lemon
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Preheat the oven to 350.

Saute the cauliflower and the anchovies in a saute pan in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Heat over medium heat until the oil is hot and the anchovies are sizzling. Add 1/4 cup of water and season with salt. Bring to a simmer, heat on medium, cover and and steam the cauliflower for about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook for about 5-7 minutes more until the water has evaporated and the cauliflower is starting to brown. Add the raisins and pine nuts and toss to warm through. Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm.

ON a baking sheet, drizzle the panko with 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread out in a layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until it's lightly brown and crunchy.

Cook the spaghetti until al dente.

Drain the spaghetti and place in a large bowl. Add a 2 count of olive oil and toss. Dump in the cauliflower mixture, add the parsley and lemon juice, and fold together. Arrange on a plate and sprinkle with the bread crumbs and cheese.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Garden Tuesday - Pumpkin


For your gardening pleasure today, I bring you my Halloween pumpkin. "But Pam," you might say, "it's almost Christmas. Why are you showing us an old picture?" It's not old. It's my Halloween pumpkin, still looking good as new. "Wow, Pam, what's your secret?"

It's easy I practiced a little TLTC on it.


To Lazy To Carve.

P.S. Please disregard the lousy paint job on our porch post.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Canned Tomato Tip

Tomato Tip

Well, it's time once again for Cooking Tips from Auntie Pam. Actually, there is no such event, as Cooking Tips from Auntie Pam, it's just that this has been a very busy day. We've done the whole..drag the decorations out of the attic, sort the breakable from the nonbreakable ornaments (a, probably in vain, attempt to Patchouli proof the tree), carried the tree in from it's cold bucket of water outside, and put up our Christmas cheer. A nice stout, I love a dark beer, is making me sleepy and everything is all warm and fuzzy. So, no recipe today (or actually tomorrow, because this is my tomorrow post), just a quick tip.

I am under the belief that whole canned tomatoes are of a better quality than the already cut up ones. I think that they can use bits and pieces of not so good tomatoes for the diced tomatoes, but a whole tomato pretty much has to be in good shape. So, I buy whole canned tomatoes and if my recipe calls for them diced, I take out my handy dandy kitchen shears and chop them up while they're still in the can. Easy peasy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Weekend Cat Blogging #184

Patchouli helping me plan my menu for the week. I don't know if you can read it, but it's the pork and lamb section of the book, her favorite!

This week's Weekend Cat Blogging is being hosted by LB and Breadchick at The Sour Dough.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Painting Kitchen Cabinets the Conclusion

Kitchen cabinets

I just realized that I never posted a picture of my finished kitchen cabinets. For those of you that weren't reading my blog last December (and I find it hard to believe that someone has managed to find me interesting for a whole year, so probably most of you were not reading it!), here is the link to my original post Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen Cabinets

They really came out wonderful, it was like getting a whole new kitchen! Well, except for the crappy linoleum floor and the ugly almond counter top. But other than that, just like getting a new kitchen. And just for fun, how many vintage tin breadboxes can you find in my kitchen? There's no prize or anything (after all, I need a new floor and counter top, people).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Coq Au Vin - Barefoot Bloggers

Coq Au Vin

This month's Barefoot Bloggers recipe is Coq Au Vin which was chosen by this little piggy went to market.

I was not really looking forward to this, since I have made Coq Au Vin before and really didn't like it all that much. I don't like chicken cooked in red wine. White wine yes, red wine no. But I'm game for a challenge. I went out the website and read all the reviews. One of the things I noted was to brown the chicken really well, that this would help with the purple color of the chicken. So armed with that info and a quick trip to the liquor store to pick up some red wine and some brandy, I was ready to go.

Then I started to brown the chicken, and even though I had read the recipe a zillion times, it was only at the last second that I noticed it said 2 chickens!!! 2 chickens! I had purchased 8 thighs in place of a cut up chicken. So, I basically made the whole recipe as follows, but with half the amount of chicken called for. It's a good thing too, because this just fit in my largest enameled cast-iron pot. I don't know what size my pot is, but it's pretty big and has held everything else I've ever put it in it!!

Altogether this recipe wasn't difficult, you could chop and prep, while something else was cooking. The carrots, onions, mushrooms and stewy liquid were very tasty. The chicken, not so much, but that's just me. Note...if it's fall and your thyme stems have become woody, it's probably a good idea to remove them before serving (yeah, that would be the twig looking thing in my photo)! If you want to give it a try, follow the link above, it was definitely the best Coq Au Vin that I've ever made.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Toasted Almonds in Chile Oil

Roasted Almonds

When trying to decide what Tyler Florence recipe to make this week for Tyler Florence Fridays, I had to consider two things. One, I already had a lot to do this week and two, I have a cold. Yeah, I spend 90% of the school year with some sort of sickness, so this is nothing new. It's all up in my head, which is pounding and producing more yucky stuff then I would have ever thought possible. I mean really, where does all that stuff come from?? It's like my sinuses have become a faucet that doesn't know how to shut off. Oh, sorry, I just realized that this post is about Tyler, not my mucus production.

So, anyway, I wanted something easy. Toasted Almonds in Chile Oil sounded perfect, I found it inEat This Book: Cooking with Global Fresh Flavors These almonds were really good, but they weren't very spicy at all. I'm not sure if my pepper wasn't all that hot, or if it didn't infuse enough. I'm going to try it again with some hot pepper flakes in addition to the pepper and maybe let it infuse a little longer. But at the end, you're left when some olive oil that has been flavored with almonds and chile peppers, which sounded too good to waste. So, after I scooped out the almonds, I poured the oil in a jar and stored it in my fridge. Tonight I'm using it to brush on some fish before roasting it, and toss some green beans in it before roasting them. It sounds good, but I'll let you know how it goes!

Toasted Almonds in Chile Oil
Makes 1 1/4 cup

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 fresh hot red chile, split
1/2 pound whole raw almonds, not skinned
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet (cast iron is perfect) over medium heat for a couple of minutes to get it nice and hot. Add the chile and cook for about 1 minute to let it infuse the oil with it's flavor. Add the almonds and cook, stirring to coat them completely with the chile oil, about 2 minutes. Not put the whole pan in the oven and roast for 15 minutes or until the nuts are toasty and fragrant. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with the salt while they're still hot.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Garden Tuesday - Peppers

Fall is the only time I have the patience to let my peppers ripen until they're red. Actually, these were yellow banana peppers, they weren't even supposed to be red!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cavatappi con Cavoli de Bruxelles

Pasta with Brussels Sprouts

Doesn't everything look fancier in a foreign language? I mean really. Does it work the other way around..if you speak French or say Italian, does it look fancier when you write it in English? I wouldn't think so. English seems so harsh to me, though, I have to admit I know no other languages. That's the problem with being an American, we don't speak other languages fluently enough, but we don't really get the opportunity to. It's not like Europe where you can just drop in on another country.

Where was I? Oh, back to Cavatappi con Cavoli de Bruxelles, or as we like to call it Corkscrew Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream. It kind of loses it's magic in the translation, doesn't it? I really wasn't expecting to like this. It has Brussels sprouts in it after all. But you know what, it was pretty darn good. I only tried it because we hadn't had Brussels sprouts in ages and I like to try and vary my vegetables. Plus when I opened up Four Seasons Pasta: A Year of Inspired Recipes in the Italian Tradition by Janet Fletcher, this was listed under autumn, and I realized that autumn was practically over. So, I wanted to hurry up and make an autumn pasta before I moved on to the winter pastas, because that's how incredibly rigid and rule abiding I am.

Cavatappi con Cavoli de Bruxelles
(Corkscrew Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream
Serves 4 to 6

1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound hot Italian sausage
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced (I didn't peel)
1/4 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
1 pound cavatappi, fusilli, or farfalle

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until they are tender when pierced, about 12 minutes. Remove them from the water, and cool under cold running water. Drain them, halve them, and slice about 1/4 inch thick. Add more water to the pot and bring back up to a boil for the pasta.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, over medium low heat. Add the sausage to skillet and break it up (remove the casing if you need too, I didn't). Cook until it loses it's pinkness. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute or two. Add the tomatoes and heat them briefly to soften, but you don't want them dissolving.

Add the Brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cream and turn the heat to low.

Cook the pasta to al dente. Reserve one cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and then toss it with the sauce adding the reserved pasta water as needed.


This will be my entry for Presto Pasta Nights, hosted this week by Mary at Baking Delights.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Maple-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

Maple-Roasted Chicken

It's hard to work all day and come home and make a tasty dinner. I know. That's why I am always searching for really, really simple recipes that I can make when I'm tired, and frustrated, and tired, and fed up with the world. Well, I hit the jackpot with this recipe. It has few ingredients, it's really simple, and once you get it in the oven you can lay on the couch, prop your feet up, and read a good book. Or you know, you could clean up the house and do some laundry. Whatever.

My only complaint with this recipe is that it does not call for enough sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes were so good, believe me, you are going to want more. Next time I will probably double the sweet potatoes, because we were left, dejectedly moving the chicken pieces around to try and find some more sweet potato morsels. It heats up beautifully for lunch the next day and makes all your coworkers jealous..if you're in to that sort of thing. I'm not saying I'm into that sort of thing, I'm also not saying whether I laid on the couch and read.

You can find the recipe online, Maple-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, and I've also posted it down below.

Maple-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4

1 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I used 4 thighs, 4 legs)
1 yellow onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (more, you need more)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons maple syrup
6 sprigs fresh thyme

Heat oven to 400° F. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Arrange the chicken, onion, and sweet potatoes in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Drizzle the oil over the chicken and vegetables and season with the salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Drizzle with the maple syrup and top with the sprigs of thyme.

Roast, stirring the vegetables once, until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour, 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Tip: The maple glaze can also be used with a whole chicken or Cornish game hens.


This will be my entry for this week's Bookmarked Recipes hosted by Ruth at Ruth's Kitchen Experiments.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Weekend Cat Blogging #183

Smudge wants to know when are they going to invent kitty cat sunglasses.

The week's Weekend Cat Blogging is being hosted by Sir Tristan Tabby Cat Longtail.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta


Every once in awhile there comes along a recipe that is so good, that even as I am eating it, I am sitting there thinking about when can I make it again. How often can I actually make this without it losing it's charm? Well, that was what it was like with this stuffing. As we were eating it, we were talking about all the different things we could have it with. Really it could be anything, because it wasn't stuffed in the turkey, and there is nothing in it that screams make-me-only-at-Thanksgiving. Maybe was different for you, but Thanksgiving in my midwestern home did not include pancetta and Parmesan cheese.

One thing I have to mention, I searched in vain for jars of roasted chestnuts. I went to three different grocery stores, before I finally gave up. I thought about buying whole chestnuts and roasting them, but since I have actually never roasted a chestnut, only sang about roasting them, it didn't sound like something I wanted to attempt at Thanksgiving. So, I left them out. I didn't even substitute anything, just left them out. But I am here to tell you that even without the chestnuts, it was amazing. This is now my stuffing recipe, forever and ever, and not just for Thanksgiving.

You can find the recipe on-line: Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta courtesy of Giada and The Food Network, you can also find it in Giada's Family Dinners.

Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta
Serves 8-10

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
8 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (7.4-ounce) jars roasted peeled whole chestnuts, coarsely broken
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 pound day-old ciabatta bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten to blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a 15 by 10 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a large bowl. Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary, and garlic. Saute until the onions are very tender, about 12 minutes. Gently stir in the chestnuts and parsley. Transfer the onion mixture to the large bowl with the pancetta. Add the bread and Parmesan and toss to coat. Add enough broth to the stuffing mixture to moisten. Season the stuffing, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mix in the eggs.

Transfer the stuffing to the prepared dish. Cover with buttered foil, buttered side down, and bake until the stuffing is heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the top is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes longer.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanks For Making Me Feel Better - Not!

Money has been a little tight. I'm not sure why, but we seem to be cutting it close lately. So, I put a voluntary moratorium on excess spending (kind of hard with Christmas coming up, but I'm giving it a try).

Then my youngest comes home from college and my husband arranged for her to go have her oil changed. I don't remember what I said, but it was something along the lines of, "But, I just got our last auto service bill paid off." He replied that it was only going to be around twenty dollars.

Do I need to go on? You can see where this is going...right. Yes, $600 dollars later, she now has new brakes, a new something, and a new something else!!

It gets worse. Later that day, I see my husband hunched over in the corner of our basement. I start to walk towards him and he says, "You might not want to come over here." He points to the hot water heater. The leaking hot water heater. Then, he says, "Look at it this way, this heater was built in 1984. At this rate, if we get a new one, we'll die before it does."

I just stared at him and replied, "Really. Your idea of cheering me up is telling me that my hot water heater will outlive me."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tyler Florence - Hunter's Minestrone

Hunter's Minestrone

I make a lot of soups. In the fall and winter, at least once a week, and sometimes even more often. I love the warm comfort of soups and the ease of a hearty one pot meal. As I was chosing my recipe for this week's Tyler Florence Fridays, I found Hunter's Minestrone in Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Any Time. I chose the recipe based on the ingredients and didn't actually read the directions until I started cooking it. That was when I realized that this was not a one pot soup, it was actually a three pot soup. I found the use of three pots a little daunting (I am a bit lazy), but the techiniques in the recipe were intriguing.

The first thing Tyler has you do is simmer the garlic in the chicken broth to infuse the broth with garlicky goodness. I saved a pot by doing this in my soup pot that I was going to use for the soup, and then pouring it in a big 8 cup batter bowl. So, yes, I know a dirtied another bowl, but a bowl can go in the dishwasher a whole lot easier than a pot can.

Really, even with the extra steps this was an easy recipe. And I have to say, this might very well be the best soup I've ever made. It was light, yet hearty. Everything tasted so fresh, there were no muddied flavors. I'm not going to post the recipe, you can find it online, Hunter's Minestrone , though the online version is slightly different from the book. The book uses 10 cups of broth and 8 smashed cloves of garlic. It also calls for whole canned tomatoes, which you chop up. And in the book, he has you infuse the oil with the herbs and then remove the herbs. I followed the book's directions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Garden Tuesday - Impatient

Christmas Cactus
My white Christmas cactus can never quite wait till Christmas!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Random Thanksgiving Pics

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes

Green Bean Casserole
Green Bean Casserole - wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it!

Table Scene
Sorry it's blurry, you can see wine was involved.

Mashed Potatoes
Um, yeah. We like mashed potatoes.

The star of the show.