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Archive for February, 2008

Husband’s Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes!

We love mashed potatoes. And Husband is a real natural at mashing them. They come out smooth and creamy and soft as silk. And did you know that 2008 is the Year of the Potato? In honor of such an event, Culinary Bizaar is hosting a Potato Feast. And you can count me in!

Our favorite way to serve the lovely potato, is to make Wasabi Mashed Potatoes with Chives. And I am proud to admit, we don’t use a recipe. But here are some guidelines if you want to make them. Start with good potatoes. I buy the yellow ones and use about 3 lbs. Peel them (I thought this was a sin at first, but if you want smooth potatoes, its a must), and cut them in 1-2 inch cubes. Put in large pan, cover with cold water (no idea why, just what I’ve heard) and bring to a oil. After about 10-15 minutes pull one out and taste it. If they’re tender, they’re done. (This is also the best time to taste a pure potato. The flavor is subtle, but really fulfilling). After you strain the potatoes, the fun starts. Add the wasabi in pea-sized doses to taste. Throw in a dollop of sour cream, maybe some heavy cream or milk, whatever you have. Don’t forget the salt and pepper and a handful of chopped chives. Taste, and add what you think is missing. Email me if you have questions, but really, it’s all about taste and personal preference. Enjoy!

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Wisconsin = Cheese

A lovely cheese

I found a cheese at Lunds a few months ago and brought it up to the In-Laws. One of the little wedges I bought was called Pleasant Ridge Reserve Cheese. My father-in-law loved it, which is appropriate, because they live in Wisconsin and the cheese was made in Wisconsin. What a coincidence, eh? The texture is like that of parmesan, but the flavor is deep and rich, yet easy to handle. And, the best part? The cows that provide the milk for the cheese? They’re pasture-fed. Huh. Oh, I just love cheese…..

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Yep, Frozen Soup

We swapped our soup the other night. And from left to right, there is Jen’s Winter Golden Soup, Jaime’s Red Lentil with Lemon Soup, Jackie’s Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon and Kathryn’s Pumpkin Coconut Soup. I brought epicurious.com’s Pasta e Fagioli. I can’t wait to try all of them, and the hardest choice I had all day was which one I should pull out of the freezer first.

I’ll post reviews as I try them, can’t wait!! (Recipes after the jump)

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Oh, Dear Pannekoeken

Pannekoeken

I worked at a delightful family restaurant through most of my college years. This was where I learned to crack eggs two at a time and pull chicken, as well as the finer arts of multi-tasking and interpersonal relations. Yep, I was a cook and a server. And I still believe that everyone should have to wait tables for at least a short moment in their lives. It not only teaches you how to get stuff done, all while wearing a silly uniform, but it teaches you to be nice to people. Or at least appear to be nice to people.

So, this whole memory of the restaurant keeps haunting me. I had a dream/nightmare the other night that I was still a server and I got triple sat. An 8-top, a 10-top and a 12-top all at the same time. And there weren’t enough chairs.

Then this morning, I noticed this post on Chow.com: Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe. It’s similar to the namesake Pannekoekens I so loved. (on wikipdia there’s even a reference to my silly little employer) But we called the little ones (the baby ones) Pannekette. Isn’t that cute?

So, next weekend if you get a few minutes, whip up a pannekoeken for breakfast. The pancakey-like dishes kept me fed and clothed through college. And I’m a better person for it now.

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We headed up north (just an hour) to the in-laws for a snowshoeing day, but, um, the snow was icy and gross, so it turned into a hike. Regardless, the day was more about the food than anything else. And it started with a bang! Actually, more like a flatbread.

We started with a lovely gorgonzola flatbread with prosciutto. The cool thing, is that the prosciutto is added right after you pull it from the oven and it literally melts onto the flatbread.


After the snowshoeing/hiking outing we came back to the house for a lunch of homemade baked bread, salad and soup. Oh, and deviled eggs. Just because. They rock. And they were so beautiful.

The soup was a fabulous, chunky butternut squash. If I remember correctly, that’s white cheddar cheese sprinkled on top. Oh, and as if there was still room, there was cake. A cranberry orange bundt cake with, of course, fresh whipped cream.

NOTE: I have recipes of the soup, flatbread and the cake, but they’re in pdf format. If you’d like any of the above, please let me know

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Mexican Chocolate Bundt Cake

I brought a cake to pARTy the other night, and while I really, really wanted to make the Cinnamon Cake with Chili-Chocolate Buttercream, it seemed like too much work for a Friday night event. Instead, I bought a bundt pan. It was one of those things I’ve been meaning to buy and always forgot to grab when I made a Target run. So I made a special trip and picked up a beautiful blue silicon bundt pan.

Online, of course, I found a recipe for a Mexican Chocolate Cake and thought it looked good, and looked easy. The beauty of the recipe is that it called for a Devil’s Food Cake mix and then I just added some goodies to it. I think it took me about 7 minutes to mix it up before throwing it in the over, all the while the show Lost was paused.

The following night I attempted the glazes. The brown sugar – milk glaze was easy and really pretty against the dark cake. But the chocolate chip glaze came up clumpy and look like, well, it just wasn’t attractive. I tossed it. Yes, I tossed chocolate. I know it’s a sin, but it was runny and getting burnt, so I gave up. The cake was still beautiful and with a sprinkling of almonds it was complete. And the best part? It was really good. Really good. Not too sweet, but really moist and delicate. I didn’t even miss the chocolate glaze that was now in the garbage. Oh well. That recipe is a keeper and now that I have my blue bundt pan I’ll be making it more often!

Gus

Oh, and this is Gus. He’s one of the hosts. See his cow?

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Tea Time

Ineeka.com

The current issue of Food & Wine Magazine has a lovely article about the experience of Tea. They also recommend an all natural, organic, fair trade tea, that I have to get my hands on. The brand is called Ineeka and the website alone is worth taking a look at. The teas are available at Amazon and HelloDelicious. I think I’ll start with the traditional black tea and move on from there. If any has tried these teas or seen them sold locally, please let me know!!

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