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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Burrito for the Ages

Sorry for the hiatus in posts as of late. We have been traveling from Baja Mexico to the Gulf Coast of Florida and many places between. We will be posting a recipe in the very near future, but for now I will leave you with a picture of the biggest burrito, covered in mole, I have ever seen. It was in the neighborhood of sixteen inches. Thanks for staying in touch while we have been away and Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sprouting Wings

With Thanksgiving knocking on the door the other night, I began thinking of ideas for hors dourve experiments that will compliment the season and add some zing to the usual. I wanted an addition to the Floridian delights of yesteryear and homely comfort food of Ohio. We ran the gamut of casseroles growing up from veg-all, sweet potato, green bean, asparagus, and the more traditional southern thanksgiving side variants like mustard & collard greens, turnips, and maybe even rutabagas even once or twice. One aspect that stuck out in my mind was the fact that we always shunned Brussels sprouts.

A vegetable at the height of harvest in the fall, it seems strange that we avoided it like the plague. Dawn and I are becoming more friendly and acquainted with the little guys since she made her fall pizza with them. It seems like a first time at the pool experience- dipping your toes in and deciding when to accept the otherwordliness of water surrounding you. The learning process has proven an aid to push us outside our holiday comfort zone and give us a new appreciation for the neglected orbs.

Avoiding the displeasing mushy texture was high on my agenda second to complementing the earthy bitterness of the sprouts themselves. First and foremost they had to be the star of the show not the complement. To up the ante I used some meaty portobellos and  thick-cut pepper bacon for the umami kicker. The result turned out beyond Dawn and my expectations leaving us believers and hopefully you too as this hor dourve will spruce up your holiday get together like no other sprout will.

Brussels Menagerie
1 # Brussels sprouts (if frozen, thawed)
4 or 5 pieces peppered bacon roughly chopped
1/3 C all purpose flour for dredging
1 T bacon grease (optional)
1 C thick slicked portobello mushroom
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp soy sauce

Dredge sprouts lightly in flour. Place bacon grease in skillet, if using, and cook bacon until crisp then remove from skillet. Make sure skillet is smoking hot, then add sprouts, and bacon. Shake skillet often to keep sprouts from sticking and to assure a crisp crust on all sides of sprouts and bacon. After sprouts and bacon are crisp, add lemon juice, soy sauce, and salt and pepper shaking to coat.

If using dish for hor dourves, follow directions the same except:
a. cut mushrooms pieces in squares approximately the diameter of your sprouts
b. carefully third sprouts before dredging in flour.

This will allow you thread a slice of sprout, bacon, and mushroom on a skewer to serve at parties or any other occasion when the idea strikes your fancy. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Holidays are Here

I mentioned earlier how much I love Christmas, and with Thanksgiving over, I wish I was sharing the first holiday baking post I had planned for some peppermint bark short bread and other goodies I made for my extended family's annual Christmas party/family reunion after Thanksgiving. Somehow though, in the mad rush between class Wednesday, Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday followed immediately by travel to visit family in Pennsylvania and Maryland, I forgot to take a picture. And of course, its the end of the quarter, so chance are Daniel will be carrying the blog for the next week. 

With the mad rush of the weekend past, I thought I would use my (late) post as a chance to reflect about the wonderful, carb-loaded meal we shared at Thanksgiving and the special time we get to spend and memories to share with our families and each other. I'm not gong to give the recipes for the dishes, although if you have a special request for something I'd be happy to type it up for you (once my final papers are typed and done ;)). 

Enjoy the pictures and the Christmas and Holiday Season!!!

The Dinner

The turkey, prepared by my parents. I'm not sure why I couldn't get a good picture, it just seems wrong to take a picture of its missing head or its backside...

  A Yellow Squash casserole, traditional holiday fare in my family's home.  I don't think I can remember a Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter dinner in which my mom didn't prepare this for us. 
Cornbread stuffing. The best way to describe dressing, is the essence of the holidays for me at least. With the onions, celery and tons of sage, it makes the house smell like the holidays. The leftovers don't last too long in our house either. (That's Daniel's legs in the background too :))

   Green bean casserole, because it's just not the holidays without it, or more precisely without nibbling some of the crispy french onions while everything else and everyone proceeds to the table.


A homemade cranberry sauce prepared by Daniel & I the night before. For my first attempt, it turned out pretty well although I'll have to play with the flavors more in the future.

  Potatoes roasted with sage and topped with bacon crumbles. A welcome new addition to our Thaknsgiving table this year, and most likely a new staple as well. 

 Sweet potato yeast rolls with cinnamon brown butter that I made in lieu of the yeast rolls I made last year. I should probably ask the family which they prefer, but I liked the unique color of these and the little bits of sweet potato.

Fruit salad prepared by mom and marinated the night before. Before serving, the grape, orange, mixed fruit, pecan, and coconut concoction are topped with fresh sliced banana.

The Desserts

An egg custard pie Daniel made using a recipe from his great-grandmother.

Pumpkin spice bars with buttercream frosting made by my mom. Quite honestly the moistest cake I've ever had.

Bourbon Pecan Tart made by my sister and I together.