30 March 2014

IHCC - Pan Seared Scallops with Spinach and Lemon Zested Risotto

... dinner in about 30 minutes ... no kidding! ...

28 March 2014

Julia's French Onion Soup

... soup bowl as palette ...

27 March 2014

An Aside: The Communion Brick

Forgive me Father for I have sinned ... that communion bread that tasted warm and moist when it came from the oven turned into a golden brick worthy of the Wailing Wall. I pity the poor folks who had to partake  ... and not choke. Big oops ... I'm trying to see the humor in the situation. It's a good thing the wine came next! And it's a good thing we all had our minds on a higher purpose for said  brick bread and wine ... 

26 March 2014

Maple Pecan Cookies

One of my New Year's resolutions this year was to seek out some new and worthy cookie recipes ... score! I picked up a cook book from the church rummage sale last weekend and found these cookies staring me in the face ... and isn't it Kismet that it's maple season here in New England?

25 March 2014

Nigel Slater's Rosemary and Honey Bread

Rosemary and Honey Bread ... with dried cherries, apricots, and golden sultanas ... so pretty!

24 March 2014

Renata's Gulaschsuppe

Memories of dining in the German Gästehäuser  ... gulaschsuppe !

22 March 2014

Gram Lindquist's Banana Cake with Maple Frosting and Salted Hazelnuts

Banana Cake ... Maple Frosting ... Toasted and Salted Hazelnuts ... Yup, I squirreled a piece to bring home from the party. I know. I'm bad.

17 March 2014

Irish Pasta - Thanks, Darina Allen !

Everyone else can have their Corned Beef, or Sprats or Colcannon or Irish Soda Bread today. I had my fair share over the weekend when our little church held its annual Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner. Today, I relaxed and leafed through Darina Allen's cookbook called Forgotten Skills of Cooking to choose a simple dish from an Irish chef ... my own little celebration of the Emerald Isle and its influence in the foodie world. I learned about Darina Allen a couple years ago when I was involved in a blogging challenge that focused on female chefs and foodies that have been huge influences on food culture world-wide.

16 March 2014

An Aside... Getting Back on the Horse

Know your fishmonger ... I thought I did. Friday night was a hellish experience after cooking these little beauties ... I was so excited. Washed them well, debearded them, rapped each to check for them for vitality. Steamed them in a lovely dry cider and cream sauce ... knoshed them. And in the middle of the night ... felt like Hell.

Know your fishmonger. It will take a while before I brave mussels again, but I will cook them again. 

15 March 2014

Irish Soda Bread with Caraway and Drambuie

Here comes St. Patrick's Day ! It's the time of year when every town has a corned beef and cabbage dinner hosted by one of the churches or the fire department or the ladies guild or the garden club, or, or ... and our town is no different. Our little church is hosting our dinner this evening and I have been charged with baking the Irish soda breads. So, I'm falling back on good old Beth Hensperger and her tome, The Bread Bible. 

13 March 2014

Pot Luck Bread - Nigel Slater's Cider Bread

Waking up this morning, the steady drip of the gutters made me almost think that the house had a tinny heartbeat - the ice and snow is no competition for the stronger warmth of the sunshine. And it's a brilliant sunny day here on the side of Gap Mountain ... the light is perfect for quilting and I have been alllllll about finishing up the binding on a major project. I spent the entire morning with the quilt draped over the dining room table and my needle taking little stitches around the outer edge while I thought a thousand thoughts and hummed along to music on the CD changer. It's amazing how much I got done when I wasn't thinking about just ... how ... many ... stitches it would take to finish the project!

My neck and shoulders, though, finally began stiffening up, so I had to stop. Tomorrow, I thought, you can finish it tomorrow! Then, I went off to make some bread so I could use my shoulder and arm muscles to knead out the stiffness ... am testing a recipe for possible potluck fare at next week's church supper.

12 March 2014

One More Bowl of Soup, Please!

Here's a soup for a cold raw day ... one that went really well with a plate of cheesy nachos and a cold beer. Everyone here in Fitzwilliam is crabbing about another snow storm that is threatening southwestern New Hampshire. There's a severe case of cabin fever going around the grey cottage ... wishing for a thaw and hoping that we get a long warm snap so that the drifts melt and the stone walls reappear! We are ready to see some forsythia and crocus blooms! Until then, though, the first paperwhite blossoms have poked their faces out to say, "Hello!".

Come on Springtime!

08 March 2014

Warm Caramelized Pears with Clove Zabaglione - Virtual Supper Club Treasure!

Cooking Italian is one of my favorite approaches to special dinners, but I have to admit that my repertoire of Italian desserts has never been the focal point of my quest for excellent Italian fare. I have always concentrated on the main meat dishes or special sauces for pastas or interesting treatments for vegetables and fallen back on tried and true desserts like tiramisu or sorbets. That's why this month's Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club was such fun (albeit a tad late).

Val and Sarah challenged me to provide a dessert for this month's theme of Let's Go Italian and finding this recipe for caramelized pears with a soft warm zabaglione sauce was like hitting pirate treasure. It's an easy recipe that can be done ahead of time. I poached the pears last night, drizzled warm chocolate over them and then chilled them to set the chocolate. Today, I let them warm gently in a slightly warm oven while I whipped just a bit of cream and cooked the clove zabaglione sauce. The dessert came together in just ten minutes.

07 March 2014

An Aside ...

I always blind bake one crust pies and quiches ... do you?

Today's quiche is asparagus with shallots and Prosciutto.

Nothing like warm quiche and a good salad ... don't you think?

02 March 2014

Gluten Free and KickA** Good Butterscotch Blondies !

Who would think that a winner gluten free flour mix of garbanzo bean flour and Bisquick's new gluten free biscuit mix could make for the dry ingredient base for these Blondies ???? I know I am just as pleasantly surprised as I could possibly be! What on Earth made me think to alter Debbie Fields' Blondie recipe this way ? Well, that's easy. I needed to make a sweet dessert for a dinner party group who have gluten issues (like yours truly) and I have been sick to death of the grittiness of conventional rice flour mixes. So, I started branching out by buying and experimenting with GF oat flour, corn flour that has a super fine grind, and garbanzo bean flour.  

01 March 2014

Grasshopper Pie !

Chocolate and mint is always a winning combination in my humble opinion! Looking at this Grasshopper Pie gives me the shivers ! It may be cold, but what I'm really shivering about is the idea that it has that magic combo ... I get the same feeling when I break into a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies or pull the top off the cookie jar and find a trove of Pseudo Thin Mint Cookies waiting for a raid. This pie, though, is just a tad more dramatic than the humble cookie jar ...