Friday, November 21, 2008

Favorite Holiday Cookie - Chocolate Crinkles

I wish I could be like my grandma and make batches upon batches of cookies to have on hand for guests every year during the holiday season. Admittedly though, I'm not much of a holiday cookie baker, or cookie baker in general, but if I had to choose a favorite it would have to be Chocolate Crinkles!

Apple Season is Great!

We enjoy a lot of apples at our house during apple season. Honeycrisp apple being this year's favorite. Mmmmm.

I made these Apple Turnovers with Granny Smith Apples, for a dinner with neighbor friends last night and they were a hit! I used dried cranberries instead of dried cherries in an effort to save a few bucks though.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Next Favorite- holiday cookie!

Ok so we've all been slacking since Amanda has been off sampling the world's finest gelato, pizzas and pasta, and I don't know about all of you but I think she will come back feeling disappointed at our lack of keeping this blog in tact and current during her absence! ;) SO, I'm going to suggest our final favorite of this month, and maybe the year since we will all be bombarded with other things in the upcoming month....

Favorite holiday cookies, so get posting ladies and I promise to post mine as well hopefully this weekend!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Favorite One Pot Meals - Garlic Chicken Artichoke Soup

I worked at a cafe summers in high school and college and we made this garlic chicken artichoke soup. It is kind of a long process to make but absolutely delish and very hearty...well worth the effort!

5 chicken breasts
fresh rosemary
chopped garlic
olive oil
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 chopped yellow bell pepper
1 chopped onion
4 stalks of celery chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cans of artichoke hearts, chopped
6 C chicken stock
3/4c butter
1/2 – 3/4 c flour
2 C milk or cream or combo of both

Season Chicken w/rosemary & garlic (sprinkle both on top of chicken) & bake in 400 degree oven until just cooked, 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven & cool, then chop.Heat oil in a heavy stockpot. Add the vegetables and cook until tender. Add stock and let simmer.Make a roux using butter and flour. Add enough flour so that the mixture comes together but still is somewhat liquid. Cook until a light brown color. Add the milk or cream and stir until thickened.Pour the roux through a sieve into the vegetable mixture. Let cook until thickened. Add the chicken and artichokes. We also sometimes add Herbes de Provence as a seasoning. Salt and Pepper to taste. Cook until all ingredients are warmed through. 8-10 servings.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Favorite One-Pot Meals - Egg Lemon Soup (Avgolemono)

This soup is one of our absolute favorites. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't like it once they try it even though it might sound kind of odd. Having a good stand mixer is key to making it.


96 oz. Chicken Broth
12 oz. Orzo
9 Eggs
6 tablespoons of Lemon Juice
1-2 Fresh Lemons
Black Pepper

1. In large pot, bring chicken broth to a boil.
2. Add 12 oz. of orzo to broth and cook per directions on box. *
3. In two smaller bowls, separate whites and yolks of 9 eggs.
4. Whip eggs whites on high until they have a stiff peak.
5. With mixer running continuously on medium, fold in yolks, one at a time.
6. With mixer running continuously on medium, add 6 T. (or more to taste) of lemon juice.
7. With mixer running continuously on medium, slowly add 2-4 c. of broth to eggs, until egg mixture is heated throughout, being careful not to cook the eggs.
8. While wisking the pot continuously, pour the heated egg mixture into the pot with the orzo and broth.
9. Continue to stir the soup, folding from the top down to dissipate foam, over low heat.
10. Serve with fresh lemon slices and black pepper to taste.

Makes about 8 servings.

*It is key that the egg mixture is ready about the same time the orzo is finished cooking. Letting the eggs sit, waiting for the orzo, will make them lose their peak.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Any One-Pot Meals (soups, stews, crockpot, casserole, etc.)?

I have one I wanted to share but need to type it out and we've all been sick this week so I haven't gotten a chance. Anyone else have a recipe to share this week?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Best Pinots under $20

Mmmm, I love me some pinot noir. And its great with turkey at Thanksgiving. I saw this list on The Kitchn. Personally, I'm a big fan of the Castle Rock Pinot-it goes well with a lot of things. I may have to get a bottle tonight!

Best Pinot Noir under $20
2005 Crossroads Destination Series Pinot Noir, Hawkes Bay - $16.99 – Vivid and rich cherry, cranberry and raspberry flavors and aromas with toasty spice and leather notes. Smooth tannins, and plumpish mouth feel. Lingering sweet spicy finish. (16.5/20)

2005 Yering Station Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley - $16.99 – Cheery red berry, plumy, cherry nose. Lighth, but inviting. Refreshing with lots of ripe cherry berry flavors and sweet spicy finish. Medium length. (16/20)

2007 Tamar Ridge, Devil’s Corner Pinot Noir, Tasmania $16 - Appealing cherry berry, strawberry and raspberry fruit character with complimenting spicy and savory notes. Elegant with smooth tannins, lots of fruit, and a long finish. (16/20)

2006 Delta Vineyard Pinot Noir, Marlborough $16.99 – Concentrated red and black cherry with pretty floral notes of roses and violets and inviting woodsy notes. Smooth, silky tannins and persistent, elegant fruit across the palate. (18/20)

2007 A-Z Pinot Noir, Oregon $17.99 - Freshly made black cherry, strawberry and raspberry jam aromas with notes of char, underbrush and smoke. Juicy fruit on the palate with a nice mix of sweet and savory spices. Smooth tannins. (15/20)

2007 Castle Rock, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast $12.99 – Fruit forward, and packed with juicy, ripe red cherry aromas and flavors. Light, soft tannins. Easy drinking with a sweet spicy cherry finish. (15.5/20)
2006 Fleur Pinot Noir, Carneros $17.99 – Appealing mix of characteristic Pinot cherry and earthy, roasted meat, leather notes. More savory than sweet. Good oak integration and hints of pepper and char on the finish. (16/20)

2006 Mac Murray Ranch, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast $14.99 – Earthy, black cherry and plums with notes of cracked black pepper, charry smoke and sweet spice. Appealing smooth mouthfeel and long length. (16.5)

2005 Joseph Drouhin, AC Côte de Beaune Villages, Burgundy $18.99 – Persistent fresh black cherry, wild strawberries and forest fruits aromas and flavors with hints of spice and dried herbs. Well balanced. (16/20)

2007 Blason de Bourgogne Pinot Noir, AC Bourgogne , Burgundy $14 - The palest of all wines tasted. Delicate red cherry and freshly picked strawberry aromas and flavors. Light, simple but pleasing and easy to drink. Served lightly chilled, would be a lovely aperitif or serve with a first course. (14.5/20)

2005 Edition Maximilian Pinot Noir, Rheingau (Germany) $12 – Pretty with ripe, yet elegant nose of red cherry, lingonberry with some black pepper, spicy notes and lifted rose petal notes. Smooth and silky on the palate with lovely a pretty sweet cherry lingering finish. (15.5/20)

2007 Lindemans Bin 99 Pinot Noir, South Eastern Australia $7 – Characteristically a lot more fruit forward with jammy, ripe red and black fruit aromas and flavors – cherry, strawberry with distinct mint, cola and sweet spice notes. Smooth tannins and medium length. Great value but not as elegant as some others.(15/20)

2006 Louis Jadot Pinot Noir, AC Bourgogne, Burgundy $14 - Restrained on the nose, showing more of a black cherry and plum character and notes of black pepper and tar. Quite classic regional Burgundy with smooth tannins, food friendly, correct but won’t knock your socks off. (14.5/20)

2007 Saint Clair Vicar’s Choice Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand $18 – Earthy, plumy, black cherry aromas and flavors with an overlay of spice, cola, cracked pepper and roasted meat notes. (15.5)

2007 Mud House Pinot Noir, Central Otago $16.99 – Lovely lifted aromas of ripe black cherry, wild raspberry and enticing savory herbs. Silky tannins and a long fruity finish with a neat spicy kick. (16/20)

2007 Roaring Meg Pinot Noir, Central Otago $19.99 – Inviting perfume of red and black cherry, with floral notes. Elegant and silky across the palate with lots of cherry, raspberry freshness mingling with meaty, cola and earthy spicy notes. (17.5/20)

2007 Babich Pinot Noir, Marlborough $18 – Brimming with bright red cherry -berry fruit. Easy drinking and straightforward. Well made everyday wine. (15.5/20)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We got favorite fall desserts!

So, we had some tasty sweets and treats in the Favorite Fall desserts category:

Jennifer's Pumpkin Bars
Sara's Pumpkin Dip
My Apple Cake

Next up, Camby picked one-pot meals (soups, stews, crockpot, casserole, etc.). When that's done, will someone do a wrap-up and Mollie, will you pick the last category?

Also, it will be Thanksgiving by the time I'm back, then BOOM, Christmas! Anyone have a fun idea we could do around holiday food? An actual physical cookie exchange to each other or a some type of recipe challenge where we all make the same recipe? Let me know if you have ideas.

And last but not least, I sent an invitation to Sara's friend in Australia to join (fun!). So if she has trouble getting the invite to work, let me know before Sunday/Monday so I can give someone else admin privileges.

And that is all I have to say about food for the day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Next two favorites

So ladies, I am soon to depart this country in the next few days and am having trouble keeping track of everything. I'm hoping to get in a favorite fall dessert wrap-up by the end of the week. Camby and Mollie, do two want to finish out the favorites by each picking a category?


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pumpkin Bars - favorite fall dessert

This is the only pumpkin bars recipe you will ever need. It's always perfectly moist without being gooey. And it's not just for fall; I tend to think it hits the spot any old time of the year.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 cup mashed pumpkin
1 cup flour

Combine sugar, oil and eggs. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Pour into lightly greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 30 min. at 325 degrees.

Combine the following and spread over cooled bars.
3/4 stick butter
3 oz. cream cheese
Dash of salt
1 t. vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 T milk

NOTES: I usually make a double batch, using one 15 oz. can of pumpkin and cooking it in a 10.5" x 15" pan. The frosting recipe makes plenty without having to double it.