28 December 2010

Bubble and Squeak with Bratwurst

Ah, a down home dinner that has nothing tussy-mussy about it. As the football season starts to wind its way toward play offs, I am dealing with a guy who is gearing up for a New England Patriots visit to the Superbowl ... gosh, I hope I didn't just jinx the whole deal!

26 December 2010

Good Christmas Reads ... and Chai!

It's the second day of Christmas and my true loves gave to me ... books! Hurray!

While others may be out in the stores taking advantage of the sales, I am cozied up by the fire waiting for the blizzard that is bearing down on New England and reading a new book that was given to me by my pastor. She knows my taste! I am enthralled by this book. Laura Schenone has written an interesting and touching historical survey of American women's roles in putting food on their families' and friends' tables. She offers well-researched chapters on Native American food practices, early Colonial housewives' cooking challenges and innovations, the role of the African slaves in providing food for their families and their masters' tables, and onward right up to modern times. Mixed in with the history are first-hand accounts of how foods were prepared, recipes from some of the first published cook books, incredible old photographs and artwork that show women working in their kitchens and gardens, entertaining in their homes, working in the church kitchens and at bake sales, running restaurants and cafes, farming their food ... and on and on. This is an incredible book!

24 December 2010

Christmas Sweets Day #4 - Chocolate-Dipped Biscochitos

We're almost there! Only one more day until Christmas! This is the last day I have for baking treats for gift plates and these cookies will round those plates out beautifully. Every Christmas, I look around for one new cookie recipe to add to my trove of holiday recipes. This year, I scoped out this recipe from Mangiabella , a gorgeous foodblog that was recommended by Chef Dennis of  More Than a Mount Full  on one of his Guest Friday posts...

22 December 2010

Christmas Sweets Day #3 - Gluten Free Chocolate Torte

It wouldn't be Christmas without chocolate and so I am making my friend, Harold a chocolate torte so that he, too, can indulge his sweet tooth. This is another easy baking venture. My torte was adapted from a recipe in a cookbook that Hershey Foods published years ago. I like it because it's a single layer of rich dense chocolate ... the original recipe, having a chocolate glaze coating the torte. I forego the glaze and dust it with confectioner's sugar and cocoa and decorate it with sugared pansies in summer and holly in the winter ...

21 December 2010

Christmas Sweets Day #2 - Gingerbread Boy Gingersnaps

Meet the boys! Boy on the left belonged to my Grandmother Barnes. Boy in the middle belonged to my mother, Alma Barnes Miller. Boy on the right belongs to my children, Kate, Sara, and Eric. All together, they will make a pig pile of gingerbread boy gingersnaps by the end of the afternoon ... and we will be crunching them with big glasses of milk in front of a Christmas movie later this evening!

20 December 2010

Christmas Sweets Day #1 - Coconut Date Balls

The grey cottage is going to be 'Baking Central' this week! I'm making the last minute treats that will grace a platter of sweets on the Christmas dessert table, sit beside the cups of coffee and tea that guests will be served, and  make their way onto Christmas plates that we'll drop off to our neighbors on Christmas Eve.

17 December 2010

Clay Pot Venison Chili ...

It is SO cold here today! I have been getting the hint from Silent Bob, my partner in crime, to make a warm something for supper. You see, it's wood cutting season here in the Northeast. Once the snow is on the ground, it's a lot easier to bring the wood out of the woods, if you've a small woodlot to manage. So, Silent Bob has been cutting and stacking wood, but now it's time to load it on a sled and haul it out of the woods and up to the woodpile. This will be next winter's wood ... an investment in more snug winters at the grey cottage. He definitely deserves a big pot of  'warm something', as he puts it!

 After cruising the blogs and touching base with Foodbuzz, I am seeing so many chili posts that I caved to offering another version. We make chili with venison in the winter. After hunting season, the freezer is stocked with tenderloins, steaks, ground sausages, and an occasional roast. Today, I'm using loose sweet venison sausage to make a big pot of chili. I have this nice flameware pot that will keep it warm after I've simmered it a bit. A big bowl of steaming jasmine rice and bottles of beer to cool the palate ... and a Christmas movie. We plan to hang out on the couch with the warm blankets and the Christmas tree lights for dinner and a movie! Tonight it's 'The Polar Express' which seems strangely á propos!

16 December 2010

Pizza - My Way

I was a busy Christmas elf today! My son, Eric and I spent much of the day doing our Christmas shopping, dashing to and fro around southern New Hampshire looking for just the right gifts for Silent Bob and the girls in the family. No real time for messing about in the kitchen this evening! And that means ...pizza!

Pizza ... a complete meal when you put plenty of vegetables and meat on a thick crust of dough! The cheese just adds the ultimate  'comfort food factor'! Yum!

14 December 2010

A Day In Paradise and ... Tiramisu !

There Should Be Angels Singing ...

Let me preface today by saying ...

As if I  haven't consumed enough calories this holiday season, I have been having an illogical and completely overwhelming yearning for a good tiramisu and a cup of coffee. It's not always easy to find the little ladyfingers needed to construct a tiramisu here in my rural backwater. Good old New Hampshire! Sooo... when I see them in the bakery, my urge for making tiramisu kicks in. I grab them and run.

11 December 2010

Yankee Swap! Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Silent Bob and I are wrapping presents and getting ready to head off to the annual family Christmas party and gift swap. I'm telling you, much thought is put into the gifts we get, the way we wrap them, and the traditional ornament that tops each gift. When you're choosing which present to unwrap, that ornament MAY hint at what's inside ... oh the suspense of it all! While one waits to have their turn at choosing, unwrapping, and deciding whether to swap or not, one eats! There is always a groaning board of appetizers, sweets, various drinks for young and old, and a counter top of casseroles, chili, roasted ham, salads, and breads. It is truly a showcase of everyone's cooking styles and skills!

This year I will be bringing the traditional warm artichoke and spinach dip with pumpernickel toasts, a cookie platter of  biscochitos from Mangiabella , and red velvet cupcake poppers from Cake Duchess . These last two Swap offerings come from two websites that I have fallen for ...do check them out. These sites are just beautiful ... so many delicious recipes and terrific photography and food staging. I should be so talented!

07 December 2010

Chicken Dijonnaise

I have finally gotten my taste for poultry back after all that Thanksgiving overload ... so tonight, I fell back on an old favorite here at the cottage on the hill. I love pasta and chicken combinations. I also love sauces.
It couldn't get any better than this, then. A bed of plain and spinach fettucine for crispy chicken pieces with a drizzle of added Dijonnaise sauce. Paired with a green vegetable and a nice bottle of Chardonnay ... dinner in less than an hour.


06 December 2010

Braised Pork with Apricots and Herbed Dumplings

Here I am, back in my comfy, warm living room after a weekend of galavanting about Duchess County in New York State! Silent Bob and I love visiting our old college friends and touring their region to poke around used book stores (4 new/used cookbooks, count 'em!), peek into antiques stores and junk shops (vintage pie bird, platter, and awesome bread knife!), and dine out in some of the coolest restaurants (Italian bistro and 'wahoo' diner) north of New York City. On this trip, we also saw one of the most beautiful waterfalls ... Bash Bish Falls! I know ... what a name, but look!

02 December 2010

Sicilian Style Spinach ...

Jazzed Up Spinach!

A while ago, I happened on this wonderful cook book that was put out by The Culinary Institute of America and dedicated to vegetables. I have been slowly wending my way through the book, trying different recipes and finding that some are definitely keepers. Take this spinach recipe ...it's chock full of flavors. Just look at the list of ingredients! There are sweet, salty, garlic-y, and nutty flavors that mingle with the green and astringent flavor of the spinach. Perhaps I am so enthusiatic because spinach is my favorite dark, leafy green.

01 December 2010

Two Words ...

Circa 1940

Original Recipe

Cookie Goddess

Cookie Source

True Classics !

Chocolate Chips