25 March 2023

Chicken Satay ! Peanut Dipping Sauce ! Cucumber Relish ! Oh, my !


Yes, Spring is very much on my mind these days ! Yes, I am having a crisis of seasonal fatigue when it comes to winter weather ! Yes, I have bridled under the yoke of a late winter infection that laid me low ! Yes, I am ready for some fresh tangy food that wakes up the taste buds and zaps my kitchen routine out of the late winter casseroles, soups, and heavy braising.

18 March 2023

The Little House Cooking Club - Maple Sugaring !

"Every day Grandpa puts on his boots and his warm coat and his fur cap and he goes out into the snowy woods and gathers the sap. With a barrel on a sled, he drives from tree to tree and empties the sap from the buckets into the barrel. Then, he hauls it to a big iron kettle that hangs by a chain from a cross timber between two trees. 

"He empties the sap into the iron kettle. There is a big bonfire under the kettle, and the sap boils, and Grandpa watches it carefully. The fire must be hot enough to keep the sap boiling, but not hot enough to make it boil over. "
                                                                                                          - Little House in the Big Woods 

14 March 2023

Braised Short Ribs with Tomatoes and Mushrooms


Mmmmm ! What could that be under that smooth tomato-y, mushroom-y sauce, you ask ?! It's only the most succulent and fall-off-the-bone tender beef short ribs that have been cooking all day in a very slow oven and making the grey cottage smell like Nonna's kitchen !

25 February 2023

Dreaming of Summer ... and Key Lime Pie !

This week has been a challenge ! Just as February wanes, it seems that winter has grabbed New England by the scruff of its neck and tossed it to the snowbanks !  Our little dirt road is again snow covered and the sounds are all muffled by the blanket of snow that settled on roof, wall, and branches.  It's pretty and all, but my wintertime feel-goods are all used up. I'm dreaming on springtime and warm weather !

21 February 2023

The Little House Cooking Club - Oyster Stew

 "... In all her life Laura had never tasted anything so good as that savory, fragrant, sea-tasting hot milk, with golden dots of melted cream and black specks of pepper on its top, and the little dark canned oysters at its bottom. She sipped slowly, slowly from her spoon, to keep that taste going over her tongue as long as she could."                        

                                                                                         - excerpt from By the Shores of Silver Lake

20 February 2023

Sweet Corn and Butternut Squash Succotash


This is SUCH a nice side dish for this Maple Sugar Time of Year ! We had this with roasted baby potatoes and grilled lamb chops this evening.  It was a bit of springtime before the actual seasonal warm up. 

13 February 2023

The Little House Cooking Club - 1, 2, 3, 4 Cup Cake


"Self sufficiency was the badge of the American pioneer. Self sufficient, indeed, the Ingalls seemed. Yet, they never dared settle too far from the country store. It was their lifeline, supplying the essentials that made survival possible and the luxuries that made life livable. "  This week, I chose to depart from the corn flour recipes and dwell a bit on the idea of a special celebration cake. The Ingalls would have had to time their visits to the general store around seasonal weather, harvest times when they could use some of their excess for trade, and the train supplying the merchants at the various outpost stores and general stores they used over the years.         

"It seems strange to have everything one could want to work with," Ma said at the end of the long winter when the supply train finally arrived." Now I have cream of tartar and plenty of saleratus, I shall make a cake." She was speaking of two important stores that made the difference between heavy baked goods and light ones. Saleratus, now called baking soda, and cream of tartar are the main components of baking powder, a key ingredient of cakes and quick bread ... "            - excerpts from The Little House Cookbook

04 February 2023

The Little House Cooking Club - Cornbread and Soup


It all starts with a good cornbread recipe. Corn ... the staple of farmers for their animals and for their families. Corn ! Fresh and dried, soaked in lye to make hominy, pounded in various gritty grindings to make flour, grits, and coarse polenta. Boiled and buttered when its fresh off the stalk, grilled and cut from the cob to add to salads and custards. It's such a versatile grain !

As I embark with dozens of other fans of The Little House on the Prairie books and television series on this journey with The Little House Cooking Club, our first cooking challenge is to make a cornbread in homage to Ma Ingalls. I took my recipe from Melissa Gilbert's cookbook that honored her days on the series. 'Half pint' has grown up and moved on, but she still credits the series with giving her a firm foundation in home cooking and she's gathered some fine recipes together to honor the series and farm cooking.

15 January 2023

Decadent Raspberry Cheesecake


Oh, the decadence of this gorgeous cheesecake was just overwhelming ! It was birthday week here at the Grey Cottage. Our lovely daughter-in-law had a birthday on Monday and Silent Bob had his birthday on Saturday. Bookend celebrations ! We opted to choose Friday evening to celebrate over a dinner here, so I was tasked with creating a super duper cake. Since traditional birthday cake is not Brianne's fave, I opted for this special cheesecake. Super rich filling that has Grand Marnier added to it, a crust that is graham cracker and ground pecans, and perfect fresh raspberries over top a thick raspberry jelly smear. It was picture perfect with a final dusting of confectioner's sugar ! 

07 January 2023

Roasted Chicken with Arugula Cream

This dish is such a dinnertime lifesaver. It's a meal for a busy day. It's a meal for a time when you want a solid meat and potatoes experience. It's got a killer dipping sauce that is so addictive that you'll be thinking of other meat dishes to make that will incorporate the arugula cream. It comes straight from food writer and 'cooking goddess', Diana Henry.