Friday, December 31, 2010

Weekend Cat Blogging #291 and Happy New Year!!

I am honored to be hosting the special New Year’s Eve weekend of Weekend Cat Blogging.  

To say adieux to the year, all of my kitties are making appearance.  Here they are saying Happy New Year, in order of age.

ScrappycatScrappycat, at age 20, is the Grand Dame of the Sidewalk Shoes household, hopes you have a long and happy life, like her. 

SmudgeSmudge at age 11,  hopes that you appreciate the finer things in life.  He sooo does love his leather chair.


Patchouli, at age 2 1/2, hopes you find the time to enjoy the beauty around you.


CoCo, age 6 months, reminds you to find your bit of sunshine, wherever you may be.


Please post your link below.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lamb Stew with Dill–for Tackling Bittman!

Lamb Stew with Dill

Guess what happens a week from today?!!!  I join in hosting Tackling Bittman!!  I am so excited, I can’t stand it!!  I’ve never been a co-hoster of anything (and probably with good reason), so this is especially exciting.  Please join in and make my inaugural hosting a huge success. 

To get you ready and worked up, I searched for a warm and cozy Bittman recipe (plus it was 28 degrees outside, so warm and cozy was necessary!).  I had some lamb stew meat in the freezer, but I was a little hesitant.  I’ve never made a lamb stew before, so I knew I wanted a really basic stew, to just get a feel for it.  In The Best Recipes in the WorldI found Lamb Stew with Dill, which looked like a good introductory lamb stew.

This was so good.  Like a beef stew, only different.  And  like most stews, was even better two days later when we had the leftovers for lunch!

Lamb Stew with Dill

  • 2 pounds boneless lamb from shoulder, cut into roughly 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 8 shallots, peeled
  • 8 to 12 very small new potatoes, washed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced into roughly pea-size bits (optional)
  • 1 cup green peas (frozen are all right)
  • 8 scallions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch sections (optional)
  • 1/2 cup snipped dill leaves, or more to taste
  • Lemon wedges

Put lamb in a broad skillet over high heat; let sear, undisturbed, about 2 minutes, or until underside is nicely browned. Stir, and add shallots and potatoes. Cook a couple of minutes longer, and add salt, pepper and a cup of water. Stir, scraping bottom if necessary, to loosen any meat bits that are sticking. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice.

2. Uncover and add carrots if you are using them; stir once, re-cover and let simmer about 15 minutes more, or until lamb and potatoes are tender.

3. Uncover, and add peas and scallions. Raise heat if necessary to boil away excess liquid. Taste and adjust seasoning; serve garnished with dill and accompanied by a lemon wedge.

This will be my entry for Tackling Bittman.

Tackling Bittman Recipe Hop at A Moderate Life

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How to Cook Everything iPhone App Giveaway **New and Improved**

Bittman How to Cook Everything

Your first question, I’m sure, is why am I posting this giveaway again, when I just posted it on Monday?!!  Because it’s a new and improved giveaway:

1.  No, longer limited to the Unites States!!  Anyone with access to an iTunes account can enter!!!  So, everyone is welcome.

2.  In addition to the iPhone/iPod app giveaway, I’m adding a second giveaway – an iPad app giveaway!!!  If you have an iPad (and if so, I am insanely jealous), you have to enter!!

3.  And last, but not least, I have better pictures!  When I sent the link to Mark at Culinate, he was all…thanks, Pam…wow those are crappy pictures.  Just kidding.  He was actually very nice and politely sent me a link on how to do a screen capture with my iPod.  How cool is that!! 

Bittman How to Cook Everything App

So, if you are keeping track, and I know you are, in order to win Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything App for iPhone and iPad, all you have to do is leave a comment on my Monday post, today’s post, and/or  Thursday January 6ths post.  I will collect the comments from all three post and chose the winners.  Plus you can tweet and post on Facebook, leaving an extra comment saying you did. 

Bittman How to Cook Everything App

So, enjoy the better pictures (though my collage did kind of cut off the left edge), I am not going to go all the way through the review again, you can find it at my original post, which you probably want to go back to anyway, to make sure you left a comment there!! 

How to cook Everything Bittman App

And, I just have to say, after having a couple of more days to play with it, I love it even more!!!  Seriously you can spend hours working your way through this!  And how great to have it right there with you, when you at the store or at work trying to decide what to make for dinner!! 

So, don’t forget..comment on Monday’s post, today’s post and come help me celebrate my first Tackling Bittman blog hop on Thursday Jan 6, and leave a comment there too.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Garden Tuesday–A Few Birdies!

Female cardinal

Mrs. Cardinal hopes that you are having a wonderful holiday week!

Bully bird

I hope you share better than this birdie.  Who, as far as I can tell, doesn’t actually eat the food, he just faces outwards chasing away in any birds who try to land.

Some sort of black headed something bird.  (It’s my Christmas break, people, I can’t be expected to think and actually try an identify the birds!)

Some sort of woodpecker type bird.  I think I disturbed him.

Monday, December 27, 2010

How to Cook Everything iPhone App!!! Giveaway!!

I know.  Some of you are thinking, “But Pam, I thought you were an Android woman?”  You’re right, I am an Android woman, but this woman does not live by Android alone.  Nope.   I also have an Apple iPod Touch.  This way I have the best of both worlds, I have access to all of the Android Apps and all of the Apple Apps!!  I am one happy camper.

So, when I was contacted about reviewing and giving away a copy of  Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything App for the iPhone and iPad from Culinate, I was thrilled.  (Please excuse crappy pictures, it’s hard to hold your iPod in one hand and your camera in the other!!). 

How to Cook Everything App

When you first open the app, you immediately notice that it is geared towards the holidays.  There is snow falling on the screen, and a special section marked holiday recipes.  Since I love all things holiday, this was nice.  When I looked at the Culinate webpage, the home screen instead of Holiday dinners, said quick dinners, so obviously this is something that will change based on the time of the year, which I think is a great touch!! 

The first think I clicked on was browse recipes, where you can browse by category.  From sauces, I went to essential sauces.  What’s nice about this part, is that you can actually vote (give the recipe a thumbs up!), So, I could see that the Five-Minute Drizzle Sauce had 501 votes – obviously I need to try this!

How to Cook Everything App

From there, I went back to browse the “Holiday Menus” section and the “Most Popular” section.  The Holiday Menu section included 14 menus, ranging from Hanukkah Dinner for a Large Crowd, to Holiday Season Light Dinner, to Elegant Buffet Lunch.  Then I perused the Most Popular section.  At the time of this review, Boiled Water was beating Meat Loaf, 1725 votes to 790. 

How to Cook Everything App

Next I went to the Kitchen Basics section, where you can find everything from how to sharpen your knives to Grain Basics.  Then I realized I hadn’t shown you how the recipe actually look, so I went into Bruschetta and Crostini.  You can see that the tabs are labeled:  Overview, Ingredients, Steps, and Variations. 

And then I realized that I better stop.  Seriously, I could have spent hours and hours going through this and not seen it all. 

And the BEST PART, I am giving away a free iPhone app (I might have an iPad version to giveaway at a later date), courtesy of the lovely and talented Mark at Culinate.  You will need to have access to a US-based iTunes account, and we will send you a code to download the app for free!!! 

So, you want to know how to enter right???  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, telling me how wonderful I am.  Just kidding!  (Well, not about the comment part, just the wonderful part). You can also leave a comment on Thursday, January 6th’s post.  What’s so special about Thursday, January 6th!  It’s the Tackling Bittman Blog Hop and I am a new Blog Hop Hostess!!!!  I know.  I can’t believe it either!

So, you got that?  Leave a comment on today’s post (you can tweet and post to Facebook for extra comments), and/or leave a comment on the Tackling Bittman post on January 6th!  I will take all the comments on today’s post and all of the comments from the Tackling Bittman post, and  draw a winner on Saturday the 9th. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Weekend Wine Reviews #45

Kiwi Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc

Kiwi Cuvee, 2009, France, Sauvignon Blanc.  $8.99.  They say:  grassy and gooseberry aromas.  We say:  we really need to try a gooseberry some time.  Grassy, smooth, citrus, bright flavor, totally yummy.  Buy again:  yes!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Weekend Cat Blogging #290 and Merry Christmas!!

Kitty Christmas

The kitty cats and I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas! 



This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging a special Christmas Edition: Jules and Vincent at Judi’s Mind Over Matter.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Mischief of the Mistletoe

The Mischief of the Mistletoe

Blog friends.  I think, that unless you are a blogger, you can’t really understand the concept of blog friends.  These are people that I’ve never met, yet sometimes I feel that I know more about them then my so-called real friends.  I know that I want to go eat breakfast with Larry, and I know what kind of biscuits Thor likes, and I know how Joanne spent her weekend.  I could go on and on.  And please don’t feel slighted if I didn’t mention you.  There’s lots of you and I love you all.

One of my blogger friends is Jain from Food For Thought.  I have Jain’s irises in my back yard and her meyer lemons preserving in my fridge, but I’ve never met her.  I’ve tried to participate in FFT, but alas, I am a big talker, but not a big walker.  I’ve failed miserably.  So, when Jain mentioned the Holiday Edition, of FFT with holiday books, I promised Jain and myself that I would participate. 

The Mischief of the Mistletoe

I went out to Amazon and specifically bought The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmasby Lauren Willig just for this event.  I totally fell in love with the cover.  And then in typical me fashion, I only started it yesterday.  But, wow!  I love it.

It is just what I am in the mood for right now.  This book takes place during the Regency Period (1803) in England.  It begins with Arabella Dempsey taking a teaching position, even though her dear friend Jane Austen warns her not to. 

I would rather be a teacher at a school (and I can think of nothing worse) than marry a man I did not like.  --Jane Austen, The Watsons

And unfortunately that’s about as far into the book as I am.  But I love it.  I can’t wait to read about her teaching at the girls school.  And the mystery has already begun with a cryptic message “Meet me at Farley Castle, tomorrow afternoon.  Most urgent” found inside the wrapper of a Christmas pudding. 

Apparently, this book is part of a series called the Pink Carnation series.  I can tell you that I plan to read them all.

Christmas Biscotti

And in my lazy, lazy way.  I’ve photographed my go-to Christmas peppermint biscotti in front of the book.  Sigh.  Jain, one day, I will do this right, I promise.


This will be my entry for Food For Thought



And for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It’s Almost Christmas!

Christmas Kitty

A picture of CoCo to distract you from the fact that I am too busy to write a real post today.

Christmas Kitty

Did it work?  Were you sufficiently distracted?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tate’s Bakeshop–Cookies and Cookbook!

Tate's Bake Shop

Yes, Tate’s Bakeshop has been popping up all over foodie blog land.  Apparently, lots of food blogs were contacted and offered free cookies and a cookbook.  Ahem.  I was not contacted.  I felt alone and adrift.  Do I not need cookies??  Do I not need another cookbook to add to the 164 that currently reside in my bookcase? 

But then, I saw that all of these people were offering giveaways.  So, I entered them.  All of them.  All over the place.  I left witty comments, begging comments, pleading comments.  And guess what??!!  I won.  The lovely Ingrid at 3B’s…Baseball, Baking, and Books, picked my name! 

All is right in food blog land again.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Garden Tuesday–A Little Ice!

Ice on Branch

Yep, we had a snow day.  Or should I say, an ice day.

Ford Edge Icy

My car. 

Ford Edge

Ford Edge

Trash Can

You did want to know what my trash can looked like, didn’t you?


Little frozen thyme popsicles.  Looked like glass.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Basil Pesto–A Taste of Summer in the Dark Days of Winter

Basil Pesto

I know what you’re thinking, “Basil pesto?  Pam, really!  In the middle of winter, the week of Christmas?  What are you thinking?” 

What I’m thinking is that this is the best time for basil pesto.  This is why I preserve my herby summer bounty.  So, that in the middle of winter, when I am stretched for time, out comes a jar of basil pesto.  One perfect jar of summer goodness, ready to sauce a pound of pasta in the blink of an eye.  And isn’t that what we need right now…a dish that goes together in the blink of an eye! 

Basil Pesto

I love nothing more than a simple sauced pasta dish as my main course, but if you were making a fancy shmancy holiday dinner, some pasta dressed with the lovely pesto, would make a pretty green side dish!

This lovely pesto comes from Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipesby Giada De Laurentiis.

Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • About 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Into the bowl of a food processor,  add the garlic, basil leaves, pine nuts, salt, and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped. With the processor still running, slowly pour 2/3 cup of olive oil. Check for a thick, yet smooth consistency, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the parmesan cheese.

Makes enough to sauce one pound of pasta.

This will be my entry for Heart ‘n Soul Blog Hop

And for I Heart Cooking Clubs!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekend Wine Reviews #44

Cotes du Rhone, Blend, 2009.  I don’t know who much we paid for this because it was originally bought as a cooking wine.  But when I reread the recipe, I realized that I needed a red wine.  So, we didn’t really have any high hopes for this wine, but it surprised us.  We say:  peachy, fruity, light, vanilla, hint of sweetness.  Buy again:  yes!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Weekend Cat Blogging #289


Those of you that are my friends on Facebook, already know that we have a new kitty cat addition here at the Sidewalk Shoes household. One Friday night, as I was in the kitchen cooking, my husband came home and said, “What’s that on the front porch?”  I looked out and there was a kitten.  A calico kitten frantically wanting it.  She was standing on her hind legs pawing at the door and then going to the window beside the door.  Frantically, back and forth.  I opened the door and she rushed in.

She immediately found the cat food, ate some, flopped over on her side on the rug in front of the fridge and looked up at us.  My husband and I looked at each other.  My first thought was, that I was glad he was home when this happened.  He would have never believed me that this kitten just showed up, demanding to be let in.  My second thought was, that it was going to get below freezing that night and it looked like calico kitty would be spending the night.

The next day was Saturday and I figured that I would go around the neighborhood searching for her owners.  Even though, she seemed not very well cared for.  But it was cold, really cold.  And I thought, shouldn’t the people who lost their kitty be the ones scouring the neighborhood.  So, we waited.  And waited.  And here we are two weeks later.  No one came looking for her. 

Scrappycat doesn’t care one way or another about the new addition.  Patchouli hates her and is not happy.  Smudge is glad to have another kitty in the house who feels as strongly about food as he does.   We’ve named her CoCo.

She is as big as Smudge’s tail.  And yes, that is how Smudge looks when he comes in from outside.  You can imagine what my floors look like.



This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Nikita Cat.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Muffins with Boozy Cranberries

Muffins with Boozy Cranberries

Okay, people.  Did you make the Cranberry Liqueur that I told you about?  If you didn’t, stop reading right now.  Go to the store (or your freezer if, like me, you have your own private stash of them) and get some cranberries.  Get it all set up steeping and then come right back here to see what is in store for you.

Muffins with Cranberry Liqueur

Now, why did I tell you to do that??  Because it is amazing.  It is so good!  The liqueur itself is fabulous and I have huge plans for Cosmopolitans by the fire.  But when you are straining the liqueur you are left with several cups of diced, boozy cranberries!  I took one cup of the cranberries and stirred them into a basic muffin recipe from How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food.  Another cup was placed in the freezer for future use (biscotti, cakes, the possibilities are endless).  I had about a half of a cup left.  Those I put the fridge, and I’ve been adding them, one boozy spoonful at a time into cups of hot apple cider.  Seriously, has so little work ever produced such fantastic results before!!?? 

Muffins with Boozy Cranberries

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or canola or other neutral oil, plus some for greasing the muffin tin
  • 2 cups (about 9 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk, plus more if needed
  • 1 cup, diced boozy cranberries

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a standard 12-compartment muffin tin.

Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat together the egg, milk, and butter or oil. Make a well in the center-of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, combine the ingredients swiftly, stirring and folding rather than beating, folding in the cranberries at this point, and stopping as soon as all the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter should be lumpy, not smooth, and thick but quite moist; add a little more milk or other liquid if necessary.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling them about two-thirds full and handling the batter as little as possible. (If you prefer bigger muffins, fill the cups almost to the top. Pour ¼ cup water into those cups left empty.) Bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of one of them comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before taking them out of the tin. Serve warm.



This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Cookbook used: