I spent the past week debating over what to make for our annual Christmas party as well as what to bring for Christmas. My biggest success (yet I’m not making it for either) were these Bacon Wrapped Scallions (click for the recipe). While absolutely delicious, they need to be made right before servingand you need a knife/fork to eat them – not exactly ideal party/finger food.They were super easy to make. Wrap a couple scallions with a slice of bacon. Fry. Eat. Despite the fact that it’s bacon I’d consider them pretty healthy. One slice of bacon isn’t that bad, and each wrap is kind of a lot of food. You have a lot to chew, yet only one slice of bacon. Win/win, right? In the end I decided on three different recipes for the party (aside from the regular stuff my dad makes, basic cheeses, crackers, dips, etc). First I made these Soppressata Bundles with Radicchio and Goat Cheese. I made them for Thanksgiving and the family seemed to really enjoy them, so I thought I’d do them for the Christmas party. Then I made Prosciutto Crostini With Lemony Fennel Slaw. This are absolutely delicious. As I’ve discovered more and more uses for fennel – seriously, look it up, so many health benefits) we’ve been having it fairly regularly. The lemon adds a nice tartness to the sweet licorice taste. Another win. Then, for dessert, I made Chocolate-Peppermint Striped Delight. I was worried that it might be *too* sweet, but I think it turned out pretty good. The holiday party was a success (albeit a stressful one in the hours leading up to it), and now all that’s left is deciding what to make for Christmas day with the extended family and wrapping a few gifts. On a completely unrelated note, my birthday is coming up (I’m turning 29) and I’m compiling a list of 30 things I want to do before turning 30. I have a good idea of a few things I’d like on the list for sure (some are totally possible, and others… less likely). But is there anything that you wish you had done earlier in life? I’m looking for any/all suggestions and in a few weeks will post my final list. I’m hoping that by posting, it’ll help create a bit of accountability so that I don’t brush it aside until a few weeks before my birthday and try to squeeze in as much as possible without actually enjoying whatever the experience might be. If I don’t post before, I wish you all a Merry Christmas!
Month: December 2013
Tonight was probably one of my most favorite recipes from The Barefoot Contessa.
Oh my Lord.
Like the rest of her recipes, this is super easy and oh-so-delicious. I’ve made it twice by the book, so this time I added a few variations – one, I quartered some red onions, and two, I added some lemon zest to the red onions. I love lemon on just about anything, so I shove as many slices in the chicken that I can. I think the best part is squeezing the cooked lemon over the croutons.
The skin on the chicken becomes super crispy and almost spicy with the amount of salt and pepper that I cake on with the melted butter. You shouldn’t eat the skin (but let’s be honest, a little nibble won’t hurt), so I peel it off and sprinkle the baked salt/pepper over the meat for a little added taste.
A feast isn’t complete without roasted vegetables. Todays mixture included: carrots, yellow beets and celery root. I’ve been trying to check out different veggies beside the standard carrots. I did a little research and found that celery root has some wonderful health benefits, so decided to give that a try. It’s pretty starchy (and a little sweet), so it’s a good alternative to potatoes.
I love the purple carrots – not only do they add color to an otherwise boring bunch of veggies, they contain the same antioxidant that gives blueberries their colors and are good anti-inflamitories. The golden beets were also a new one for me. Much nicer to work with as they don’t stain your fingers the way the reddish/purple ones do.
The chicken takes an hour and 15 minutesand the veggies got an hour. I would’ve given them a few more minutes. The beets weren’t hard, but they weren’t as soft as they could have been. I just tossed them with a bit of olive oil and then squeezed some lemon on once they were on my place. Yum!
The croutons – the best part – are the easiest. Some cubed bread (I prefer a good sourdough) and some olive oil in a pan on med/med-high heat. Takes about 10 minutes and I toss frequently.
Does anyone else have a favorite recipe they continue to revisit?
“No two persons ever read the same book.” –Edmund Wilson
This has gone around facebook over the past few weeks, and then I was tagged a couple of times. I decided to break the rules a bit (shocker) and move it to my blog.
Anyway, here is the original post: In your status line, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard – they don’t have to be “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you.
In no particular order:
1.) A World Without End, by Ken Follett. This is actually the second of his two books in the series (the first being Pillars of the Earth – also a great book). This book is absolutely fantastic. My goal in life is to write a historical novel this engaging, with such fascinating characters and such detail on the time period. I listened to this as an audio book before I picked up a paperback copy and went through all 50+ hours of audio in a crazy amount of time. I listened to it whenever I had five minutes to spare. Train rides, short walk to the grocery store, etc.
2.) Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene. Growing up, I’ve always been fascinated by world war 2. This book was so different from most other books I’ve read because it was focused in the US. I remember it leaving me heartbroken (even at a young age). I looked forward to the sequel, but sadly it didn’t deliver. In fact, if you haven’t read it – don’t.
3.) Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry (actually all of her horse books). I love horses and Marguerite’s books made them come alive in my mind. I actually have the Misty Breyer Horse (and her foal). I think I’ve read most of these books at least twice and have them saved in a box under my bed due to space rather than not wanting them on my shelf. Also on my bucket list is a trip to the island of Chincoteague.
4.) The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, by Edmund Morris. I find Roosevelt to be so fascinating. He has forever impressed me with his love of science and what he did for our National Parks. This book was a fantastic look at his early years and the live he lived (both ups and downs) before he reachedoffice. Interesting tidbit – Because of public demand to meet the great TR, on New Years Day, 1907, The Roosevelt’s held an open house where the public could shake hands with the President. By the end of the day, Roosevelt had shaken the hands of 8,510 people, setting a new Guinness World record. That record would hold until July of 1977 – over 70 years.
5.) Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry. Another book I read as a young girl. This one stood out to me because it took place in Copenhagenand I could so easily picture the exact streets in my head.
6.) Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank. I read this book at least twice, once was during a family vacation in Germany. I finished the day before we visited the concentration camp where Anne and her sister Margot died just a month before Liberation. A book that everyone should read.
7.) The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley (and the rest of his Black Stallion series). Again with the horses. After reading these books (also stowed under my bed) I was so dead-set on owning an Arabian. I think it was the imagery that I created in my head that made these books so great. The beautiful horse in the movie helped.
8.) Tales of a Female Nomad, by Rita Golden Gelman. Who doesn’t want to just get rid of everything and explore? But then I remember I’m broke.
9.) Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks. Forget turning little toy people into real people, bring on all the animals! I had plans for the greatest zoo ever in my room. All my breyer horses? “Sorry mom, can’t do chores right now. The ponies needs to be fed.”
10) The Cat Who Wore a Pot On Her Head, by Jan Slepian. One of my favorite books as a little kid. Loved it.
Funny how so many of the books I’ve mentioned were books that I read as a kid/pre-teen. Not that I haven’t really enjoyed books that I’ve read a little more recently, but I think it says a lot when I book sticks with you for so long.
I actually did the cooking on Saturday and now the post on Tuesday, but…
I thought I would try a weekly post on a recipe that I’ve tried recently. First, just to get me back in the habit of blogging, and second… it’s been an interesting venture into cooking over the past few weeks.
I absolutely adore Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa). I would love to spend a day in her kitchen (or with her soothing voice she could just read me a story), but I think overall her recipes are very easy, great tasting and don’t take a whole lot of time. Cooking in general takes time compared to a microwave reheat, but it really isn’t that bad (and most the time is in the oven anyway).
So this weekend I decided to make Amelia’s Jambalaya. Partly because it looked absolutely delicious, but also because I miss New Orleans (and Memphis) something fierce. Not that I think whatever I cook can compare to some of my favorite places to grab a bite, but I could at least get a similar… flavor.
Luckily enough this recipe calls for wine. And it only needs a cup, so since I’m not a fan of waste… first things first, pour myself a glass.
I tend to drink white most regularlyand I’m a big fan of something sweetsy – like riesling or a moscato. And because I’m cheap, I go with something like Barefoot (because really, who turns down a $5 bottle of wine that tastes like juice?). Other than a couple names/brands, I really don’t know much about wine. So when it called for a dry white like a pinot grigio, I went for a brand I knowand that didn’t cost much. I was pleasantly surprised – tasted pretty good. I’ve gone for unfamiliar, cheap wine in Denmark when my money went for trips to Prague or Paris instead of boring every day things like gas. And health insurance. I digress. Anyway, nothing worse than a cheap wine that tastes like vinegar.
The most time consuming part of this recipe was prepping everything. I feel like I was chopping, slicing, mincing, trying not to cry over the onions for what felt like hours! Of course it was nice to just drop everything in when it was time without pausing to chop or slice something in between cooking, but…
I think that if I were to make it again (and I will), I would leave out a bit of the rice. The recipe says it makes 8 servingsand I think you’d need to be feeding 8 hungry lumberjacks if you were going to serve it all at once. I only did 6 chicken thighs (any moreand the pot would’ve over-flowed). Even with less chicken, we will have had three dinners out of the pot and likely one or two servings left over – so 11/12 servings? It’s a hearty dish.
I don’t actually have a photo of the finished product. Needless to say – it didn’t look like the photo in the book, but that’s okay, it’s rare that anything that I cook would even have a remote chance of looking like something prepped by a food stylist.
I would give this recipe stars – though I’m not too fond of that sort of rating. There are a few things I’d change (less rice, maybe more red pepper) and things that were delicious (just enough spice for me and I made it with only one instead of two jalapenos). The sausage I used (Open Nature Smoked Andouille – chicken sausage)
added a bit of spice, but was pretty good. If my dad can eat it, than it’s not too spicy for just about anyone. Only downside of the sausage is that they add evaporated cane syrup (WHYYY)and they are a bit high in sodium.
Overall a good choice for a cold winter weekend. //BON APPETIT