Thursday, January 13, 2011

Surprise Dinner - Cassoulet Salad

Ok, ok.  So I kind of made it up.  Do you ever find yourself in the kitchen, counting down until dinner, you've barely have anything in the fridge, and you don't feel like leaving home and heading to the store.  That was me last night.

So, what do you do?  Me? I just want to cook with ingredients before they went bad: salad greens and white beans.

I christened it Cassoulet Salad.
I was completely surprised at how good it was.  It was the easiest dinner to pull together since the beans were already cooked.  The interesting ingredient was pork skin.

Yep.  That's right.  Pork skin.  There was a bag of it frozen in the freezer from my goddaughter's lechon party.

I added strips of lechon to the sauteed onions in lieu of bacon.  The cooked and seasoned beans were added next to heat up.  When heated through, the cassoulet was scooped onto a bed of greens and shaved cheese topped it off.  Done.  15 minutes. Start to Finish.

The surprising part was the lechon.  The smokiness that it added was so fantastic.  It elevated the humble bean to greatness.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lordy, Lordy! My Honey's 40!

Today, my wonderful husband's birthday.

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dear Nicholas!
Happy Birthday to you!
And many many more...

Now, make a wish.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Wee Baptism

Our wee plum was baptized over the weekend.  Such a simple ceremony but theologically significant.

Plum's Grandma lovingly hand washed and ironed the gown that was made by hand by Plum's great-great-great grandmother in the late 1800's.  Every child in the family, young and now old, has been christened in this gown.
This little girl is my treasure.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Apple Fries

I like to experiment in the kitchen.  You may not.  But, let's look at the ubiquitous apple.

An apple tastes great with peanut butter. With cheddar cheese. As cider. Pureed into sauce. Let's not forget its classic form as pie.

So, what do you say about breaded apple fries?  Well, I say, they're absolutely delightful.
All you need for batter:
1 cup flour plus 1 cup for dredging
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup sparkling water

Heat oil to 350F. Cut apples into batons. Mix batter together until just combined.  Dredge each apple slice in flour, then dip into batter, then drop carefully into hot oil. Cook in batches until nicely browned on all sides.  Drain on paper towel.  Best when eaten right away.  

I realize that looking at the picture that it's mostly ice cream that you can see. That's because Mr. Mig thinks ice cream is a major food group. With the fried apples, he's absolutely right.

Step outside your culinary comfort zone. Try some and see if you agree.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Magic of a Sneeze

Babies are so much fun.  My wee plum is delightful.  She's at that age were everything is a discovery and that includes laughing.

The first time we heard her laugh it sounded like her giggle reflex was rusty and had been out of use.  And actually, I guess, it had been.

Daddy can make her laugh with his scratchy chin.  As for Mommy, she has a magical sneeze.
Your eyes may roll at the cliche, but hearing your baby giggle just makes your heart dance.

Absolute delight.

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Years Day Brunch

Just like everyone else, we always try to have special meals on the holidays.  Every New Years Eve I've made something new for me and Mr. Dreamy McMig.  He remembers fondly the hard boiled quail's eggs and petite bites of years past.

This year I made pumpkin gnocchi.  About 30 pounds worth.  They were memorable.  Memorably bad.

So, on to better things...BRUNCH!

New Years Day is a time for sleeping in and relaxing.  And that's what we did.

When everyone was needing a bite to eat, I pulled together some french toast waffles.

I don't know about you but, I'd never heard of them until I was taking a peek at Tyler Florence's new cookbook Family Meal.

So easy to pull together with so little mess.  I recommend using a soft bread like brioche. If the only bread in your pantry is of the sandwich variety, I recommend trimming off the crusts. They become a little too crisp.

Our favorite was spreading some cranberry and cinnamon goat cheese between two warm slices and topping with a little maple syrup.

Now that's the way to ring in the new year.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Grandma Tried Hard

Oh, the holidays have come and gone and with it the annual Christmas photo. Grandma tried. And failed.

It was like trying to wrestle four cats into a bag.

You couldn't control them.  You could only hope to contain them.

The perfect photo was not obtainable.  But, it was memorable.  'Tis the season.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Christmas Wish

You know how the song goes. All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. Well, my wee one got her wish.  One tooth arrived on Christmas day. Delightfully surprised Aunt Inga and her finger.

Wishes do come true.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hey, Stranger!

You look familiar.  Have we met?  Oh, yes, many months ago.  Nice to see you. What happened, you ask?  Well, I fell off the face of the Earth.

Welcome back.

Thank you.