Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Listening to...The Family Jewels


You know for most of this winter I was desperate for some good new music... and didn't find much.   It is amazing what a couple of months can do... this spring I have been wading through the gems!   And here is another one to add to my 2010 favorites list, if you don't already own this... go get it NOW!    Her persona is a bit too Lady GaGa for me... but I love the music.   I have listened to the album for about two weeks and I have been trying to figure out who she sounds like... a bit Kate Bush, a bit David Bowie, a bit of ABBA and some Florence and the Machine!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm thinking

We should all start our day off like this...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Easiest Dinner Ever... Tomato Sauce


This sauce is the best thing that will ever cross your lips.   I ate it plain with pasta the first night and then the next night added some of the leftover meatballs from the Italian Wedding Soup.   Double it... you won't be sorry.

Tomato Sauce
Marcella Hazan – Essentials of Italian Cooking

2 cups canned plum tomatoes (whole, peeled, chopped, with their juices about one 28-oz. can)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
salt, to taste

Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter, and the onion halves in a medium saucepan.

Add a pinch or two of salt. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, at a very slow but steady simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary, for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free from the tomato.

Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and salt as needed.

Discard the onion.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May + Snow = Soup day

                             Picture from Italianhomerecipes.com

Last week when we had a cold snap and it snowed here in Denver, I took the opportunity to squeeze in one last soup before it got to hot for it. I chose this one from Ina Garten. This soup is really delicious and because of the weird quantities (please tell me where I can buy 3/4 lb of ground chicken) I doubled the meatballs and planned to make meatball subs or spaghetti and meatballs this week. I am SO glad I doubled the meatball recipe, they are so good and perfectly alright for the non-red-meat eating girls in my life.

Italian Wedding soup
(Barefoot Contessa)

Meatballs:
3/4 pound ground chicken
1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup:
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
10 cups homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don't have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Piper's Commercial, Circa 2004



I am posting this so we can all reminisce and because it is SO FREAKING FANTASTIC! (Also posting it because I know dad won't be able to find it on the computer, now I have placed it in a convenient location)!

I love that Piper refused to say "ok now I am going to really bring the heat", like the writers wanted her to say; that her balls hiss like a snake; that they gave the voice over to a retired Leprecaun, WTF?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sup?

Well it is been almost a week since I last posted.   Not much is going on.   It snowed last week, followed by a weekend of yard work.   I did make a really delicious soup during the cold snap last week that I need to tell you all about.   But, other than that I have blogging block.   Boo.   Which means I am seriously uninspired.   Hopefully something will snap me out of this funk...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Weekend of great recipes

                                                                                           Picture from Cooking Light


Photo from Epicurious

This weekend I prepared two dinners, which besides being delicious were pretty easy to whip up after a long day of errands and yard work: Grilled Tuscan Lemon Chicken and Crusty Mustard Dill Meatloaf. Both were fantastic and as a side dish I prepared a dish which always makes me happy… Mark Bittman’s Swiss-Style Cheese Bake. I cannot say enough about this veggie-loaded side, and as usual with Bittman, you're limited only by your own pantry and imagination here - swapping out types of veggies and cheese on a whim. I will only make on recommendation about the Bittman Cheese Bake, don’t leave out the walnuts!

Tuscan Lemon Chicken
Barefoot Contessa

1 1/2-pound chicken, flattened
Kosher salt
1/3 cup good olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved

Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt on each side. Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and 2 teaspoons pepper in a small measuring cup. Place the chicken in a ceramic or glass dish just large enough to hold it flat. Pour the lemon marinade over the chicken, turning it in the dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn the chicken 2 or 3 times while marinating.

When ready to grill, prepare a hot charcoal fire on 1 side of a grill (or turn a gas grill on low heat). Spread 1/4 of the coals across the other side of the grill. Place the chicken on the cooler side, skin side up, and weigh it down with the dish you used for marinating. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the underside is golden brown. Turn the chicken skin side down, weight again with the dish, and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Place the lemon halves on the cool side of the grill, cut side down for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove the chicken to a plate or cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut in quarters, sprinkle with salt, and serve with the grilled lemon halves.

Crusty Mustard-Dill MeatLoaf
Bon App├ętit

1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/4 pounds meat loaf mix (I used half ground bison, half ground pork, I don't eat babies)
1/2 cup minced onion
1 large egg
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix 1/2 cup broth and oats in medium bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Mix in meat, onion, egg, dill, mustard, salt, and pepper. Transfer mixture to rimmed baking sheet; shape into two 3x6-inch rectangular loaves.

Bake meat loaves until browned and cooked through and thermometer inserted into center registers 160°F, about 25 minutes. Using large spatula, transfer loaves to platter. Place baking sheet directly atop 2 burners. Add remaining 1/2 cup broth to sheet. Boil pan juices over high heat until reduced by half, scraping up browned bits, about 2 minutes. Pour sauce over loaves and serve.


Swiss-Style Cheese Bake
Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

Butter or EVOO for greasing the baking dish(es)
2 cups grated Fontina, Emmenthal, Gruyere, Chantal, Cheddar or Jack cheese
1 Tbsp cornstarch*
3 cups cooked potato cubes (boiled or roasted, peeled or not)
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 cups roughly chopped cooked asparagus, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts, green beans...
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

If you’re baking immediately, preheat the oven to 375. Grease and 8 inch square baking pan with a little butter or olive oil. Toss the grated cheese with the cornstarch until it is coated evenly.

Spread the potatoes evenly in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and half the cheese mixture. Top with the vegetable, a little more salt and pepper, and the remaining cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the walnuts if you and the Parmesan. Cover tightly with foil. (The dish may be assembled up to this point and refrigerated for up to a day. Bring to room temperature and preheat the oven before proceeding.)

Put the pan in the oven and bake, covered, until the cheese melts and the vegetables are hot, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the cheese is golden and bubbly, another ten minutes or so. Sprinkle with parsley if you’re using it and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

*the cornstarch is a great addition here which is added to keep the grated cheese shreds "separate" so that they melt properly into the dish. Think about how cheese topping melts into sort of a solid piece. That doesn't happen here; it integrates with the potatoes and vegetables rather than just laying there in a sheet... such a good idea.

Friday, May 7, 2010

j'envie du potager


Bois Richeux
I love this garden... but when I look at it all I see is how much edging I would have to do... I do not like edging...

Les Moulins de Ramatuelle


Willowbrook Park - Situated five kilometres from the centre of Hamilton, New Zealand.


Gardener's Supply - this was my original inspiration for my own mini-potager.  Mine turned out so much better!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Listening to...



I have been listening to this new album for 8 hours a day for the past week... and I can't seem to get enough.

Here is their first single...



Listen to more here.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Yellow Door

(picture by Apartment Therapy)


Picture from Blueprint (oh how I miss you, sniff sniff)

I have been doing a lot of work on the outside of my house lately and among the gazillion things to do outside (and inside) is to repaint the exterior doors and the trim on my house.   I have been fantasizing for a few years about painting my doors yellow.    Currently my doors are a deep red color, which I do really like.   But, the color has faded in the sun and they have to be repainted.   What do you think?    I am getting ready to repaint my trim white so... here are the combinations...

                                                                 
New combination:


What do you think?  I think I am in love with it!  


                                                                Picture from Honey Interiors

I know, I know... it is a stretch... that isn't really even close to the blue on my house...

Here are some swatch options... I think am going to have to whip out the color fan when I get home.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Viva la food cart


I am in love with the food cart trend, of course my favorite in Denver is Biker Jim's.   But today I coaxed some of my coworkers into trying a the new cart in town... the wood fired pizza cart... genius, right?   Brava Pizza and boy is it delicous, they even passed out some samples - I tried mushroom, goat cheese and truffle oil and then settled on a sausage pizza because they are using products from Mondo Vecchio and I wanted to try some more of their fantastic italian sausage.   God the pizza's were so good.

I think my second career will involve a food cart.   I have often thought of what my cart would serve and really only one thing came to mind - PIE.   Can you imagine a Pie Cart... serving hand pies filled with your favorite fruits and maybe a few savory fillings like: chicken pot pie; zucchini and mushroom; or an empanada... you really can't go wrong with pie.    Get ready folks I think pie is going to be the new cupcake.

Of course my cart would be a vintage Shasta Trailer.   No... I haven't thought about this much AT ALL.