Sunday, December 26, 2010

OH and.

Found out tonight, after our last night @ Wayfare, Tyler tweeted my dinner....
too funny!

She's making. He's making.

Day after Christmas tradition has changed.
Which means, time to start "try-outs" for new traditions.
First of all, the mall today.
Not kidding, gotta add that in!!!
no, not crazy, we saw everyone we knew there today!
Which is code for everyone we know, but otherwise wouldn't see over the holidays!

Now, home.
I'm making French Onion Soup.
So comfort food for me.
And he' making croque monsier.
Again, YUMMM.

My recipe, well, they way I made it last time was a blend of Ina Garten's & Ree Drummond.
Which means soon, after a couple tries, it will be mine. :)
thanks ladies!!! I love you both. dearly.

As for "he's making", I never have. BUT I have eaten it & loved it.
Oh crap, gotta run. He's messing with my soup!!
more later on gifts for the chef that worked!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

my mornings...

So my mornings are often a flurry. 
I've described my daily awakening as being shot out of a canon into my day. 
sometimes the flood of what has to be done & extreme hurry makes it feel like that...
but its cool, its my life. 

SO. Somedays my life take a turn & I need to sit. 
Oh sit. 
Be still.
Yes, please.
And this particular morning I had just done rounds to schools & home to rake a quick 3 garbage cans full of leaves before the sprinkles started.
And had photos from the day before to edit & sort through. 
this part I love...
then add a cup of tea & a snack. 
Oh be still.
MY heart!
a friend & neighbor had dropped by with 
 our christmas card & her version of baking this year.
a box of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

Love these things...
and I've made em ;)
so I thought I'd share...

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened 

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar 

3 eggs 

1 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

3/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries

4 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks 

4-ounces cream cheese, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
zest of one orange

Drizzled Icing
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon milk

2 teaspoons vegetable shortening

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Make cake by beating the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, ginger, vanilla, and salt and beat well. Gradually mix in the flour and baking powder until smooth. Mix the chopped dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks into the batter by hand. Pour the batter into a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned on top. Allow the cake to cool.

3. Make the frosting by combining the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, zest  and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the cake.

4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries over the frosting on the cake.

5. Make the drizzled icing by whisking together powdered sugar, milk, and shortening. Drizzle this icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion with a squirt bottle or fill a small plastic storage bag with the icing and cut off the tip of one corner.

6. Cover the cake and let it chill out in the fridge for a couple hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle. Slice the cake across the width three times, making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.

Makes 16 bars ...ish. unless you nibble. like me :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Recipe to share

I honestly can't remember how long ago I came up with this. 
But is has created a following like nothing else I make.
{ok, maybe Carrot Cake wins over, not sure.}

It went like this...
me : "I think I'll make a cheeseball for Thanksgiving, sounds good."
my chef : "oh, really?...ok." with a sincere nose curl & grimace."
me : "no, not like those Port-o-cheddar things you see in the grocery store! This will be good...."
and so I tinkered. 
I've changed a few things since the first round of cheeseball 
and to me it is a seasonal thing. 
Thanksgiving & Christmas
but I've been given grief on that {Tiffany tried to get me to make it for the lake. Not a summer food to me.}

Here goes:
2 8oz. cream cheese, softened. Important to let these soften on the counter, otherwise it won't mix well!
1/2 C of cranberry chutney (I've gotten this in the past from Trader Joes, they didn't bring it in despite my round of calls begging. SO. It can be substituted with other chutney + cranberries
1/2 C grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 C grated gruyere cheese
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 C chopped green onion {green & white parts}
salt & pepper {just a bit}

Then, 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts. This can be a preference. I like almonds & pecans best but I've used walnuts too. No peanuts or cashews here...

Add all 7 ingredients in a bowl. Do not do in food processor, the green onions get stringy, yuck. I like to make it the day before to let the flavors meld, everyone agrees its better but if your late, oh well. Then with your best kitchen utensils, your hands- mold it in a ball.
Before serving roll it in your chopped nuts. 
Serve with crackers & sliced fuji apples {apples are my favorite!}

This recipe has been tried & tested all over. I can guarantee yummy-ness. 

somehow I've never taken a picture of it done
{I will this year!}
but here is it in the midst 
And just a note to finish the story, one bite & he was smitten. 

holidays as a chefs wife.

We American's love Thanksgiving. 
Thank God.
Truly, we all have much to be thankful for, even those with less than years past.
And every year it seems like I am so thankful for a simple thing. 
I get to pick what I am inspired or feel like making 
but the whole meal still gets made. 
I can see the eye roll, but honestly.
But before you think its all wonderful & easy around here, 
remember he also makes a mess in the kitchen that makes me wish I had a drain the middle of the room & a hose to clean up. 
And other than Cheeseball
{a different post}
no matter what I make & how great it is
he always is the star that steals the show.
And I'm cool with that because I'm his favorite.
back to holidays as a chefs wife:
Our menu this year includes a few mandatory 
a few past years favorites...
Turkey of course. 
Brine it. 
Have you never done that? Please do. Here's why.
written by that favorite chef of mine.
Mashed Potatoes. Duh.
I love all kinds-red, yukon, russet, baked, sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar. But for Thanksgiving, simplicity is best.
make fancy ones for pot roast or meatloaf.
Gravy, and no, I've never needed to make the perfect gravy. 
But I do consider myself a connoisseur of it. 

Now after this it varies year to year
inspiration from cookbooks, magazines guests or cravings all have a factor in what we make next. 
I love love Brussels Sprouts
YES. I said that, just barely cooked with sauteed bacon & onions they are amazing. 
 Here you can see them in the line up. 
Both with bacon & without for those vegetarian thanksgiving eaters.

Another year I made this Leek & Goat Cheese Tart
Oh so yummy & delish.
 Cranberry Sauce. And I am a bit persnickety about this one. Because I like it so much, but just this way.
No onion shallot or garlic.
No jello or relish style here. 
But made from scratch & oh so easy.
Its a must have at the table.
Every couple years I get inspired to bake. 
I love baking, no doubt! But during all the craziness of oven space during days of prep, it lends not to provoke me to do it.
Plus I make a lousy pie crust (just being honest).
Pumpkin Pie is a must. 
 Tried it again few years back & even made a decorative crust with little pumpkin cutter.

 Abbie loved this mom & girl time 
can you tell...

 Turned out pretty good. Pretty at least.
 Another year I made individual Apple Galette. I love this idea because it is suppose to be "hap-hazard"
no perfect crust here. 
And I made apple because its my brother Kyle's favorite pie.

This year
I'll be making:
Cranberry Sauce
& I am thinking about making up a Pumpkin Tiramisu Trifle 

and the rest will be made, all the fixings.
Just not by me. :)

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

wingin' it.

sometimes the biggest perk is knowing how to wing it. 
And by that I mean, 
don't have any idea what I'm going to feed the family and 4:30 has come & gone....
open the fridge & knowing by looking thru you can make something out of whatever I find. 
this is a bit of a learned skill. 
and it doesn't always play out.
So, the other day as the night came quicker than my routine of chores, I needed a quick meal for 7. 

I usually always have the "trinity"
its a food term for our regular pantry items that are really the base of everything. 

Had some ground beef thawed
I usually have ground turkey but a family friend of ours bought a whole half cow
and their freezer didn't hold it all
{lucky us}
and I got 2 shelves full of grass fed beef.

 and sometimes your husband works on a Sunday 
but brings you home this..:-}
that's my pile of papers to update my calendar in the back
hence the wine-ha!

So I made soup with the veggies
added broth
seasoned it
added a can of cannelini beans
made a meat ball mixture with the beef 
and just before ladling it out
added 2 handfuls of baby spinach
it disappears in seconds
makes it delish!!
1 more veggie in my kiddos 
 handful of spinach
 seconds later
Served it with a sprinkle of parm
and I made up dinner. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

breakfast. mine. his.

I rarely eat breakfast. 
that is, unless you count coffee as breakfast :)
but when I do make something it is usually around 10 a.m.
not sure why.
I've always been that way...used to skip breakfast at home & eat my lunch in 3rd period. 
when I do make breakfast this is my favorite thing, and I can whip it together quick!
Honestly can't get enough of it.
simple & divine....
greek yogurt-I love Fage'
very low fat or no fat 
super creamy
light like whipped cream 
with blueberries & cut mango
drizzle of honey to contrast the tart.
love love love this

now completely different story when my chef makes a quick breakfast
Roasted Squash with cracked wheat frittata...blistered tomatoes, spinach pesto & crumbles of aged white cheddar. 

entirely different
"whip something up"

that's life as a chef's wife. 
in a nutshell

Saturday, November 6, 2010

wow these food bloggers. Food Buzz 2010-SF

these first few, really are just because I love LOVE taking photographic perspective picutes.
fantastic sky & building etched in it.
I love San Francisco.

 Food Blogger Conference. Or Festival, not sure what it is called. What a Buzzzz

 Chef Todd getting all things straightened out with Ashley the blogger that "won" demoing with him for her recipe using Fresh Express Salad. He is a lot on God Bless her!
 Across the street from Sir Francis Drake. 
Ever been? Famous for small pancakes. ok.
 FB posting....yes, he loves his audience, the grin tells it!
 Prep table....
Everyone. YES, everyone had at least 3 things on their laps...cell phone or computer, cameras and then some, and a note pad or "notes" on their phone to keep audiences in tune.. wow.

 Ashley & Chef Todd...notice I am not on stage, that's his department mine is behind the scene :}
 Seriously...butternut squash and onions carmelizing in olive oil for sure needs to be shared. The smell made the room crazy!
 Each and every blogger was armed and ready to get a shot of the pan-food blogger & cameras are smitten!!
 delicious Ashley! Nice recipe...
 The next venue is at Metreon and gorgeous city scape of SF. 
Lots of different venues all inside but with a City back drop, loved it.
 The ever darling & food focused Tyler Florence line.
 Far Niete. Yes, please. 
 just as the gate are opening! wow. Food Bloggers are anxious for food!!!
 delightful ice cream from Three Twins. Yum!
 Fresh Express Artisanal Sierra Crisp Herb Mix with fresh cranberry vinaigrette and toasted quinoa & smoked pecans. wonderful & different! Fantastic feed back from the guests on complexity & flavor.

 great white wines, fun labels
 amazing line up of beers. truly artistic!!

 Chef Todd wows the crowds. How fun to make something simple but wow the audience. 

 EVERY food blogger was toting a camera of many shapes & sizes. That is what sets apart food bloggers!
 Chef Todd & winner Ashley from edibleperspective blog
 Our team from Incendia Creative
 oh yes. I love me some pig!
 I loved seeing my City Boy with a Cityscape on his backdrop....but this wasn't quite it. 
 This was. I love love love this shot. This is my man. Dredged in conversation, beer in hand, in San Francisco. That's him.
 for sure!
yes, I am.