On occasion, usually for a holiday or celebratory occasion, I become obsessed with finding a new, adventurous recipe. The bug bit me again on Memorial Day as I searched through the web for something tantalizing.
We had no specific plans, but I was in the mood to cook. Yet, I had very little in the pantry to satisfy my cravings. No onions, no molasses, no potatoes, exactly when did I go shopping last? I found blueberries. Interesting. What can you do with blueberries except make syrup? BBQ sauce? Yes! You can make BBQ sauce!
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. Cheesecakes are intimidating. They are finicky. They have many steps. They take a long time to bake. Oh, I am definitely a cheesecake novice. This was my second attempt at a cheesecake. Thank you Ina Garten for your wonderful recipe. I only adjusted the topping to be strawberrylicious, as that was my friend’s request. Let me back up.
One of my neighbors, now a good friend, just celebrated a birthday this week, the same week she was throwing her now 4 year old daughter a birthday! As us Moms know, our own birthdays are now about the little things like an extra hour of sleep, a quiet dinner, or maybe a piece of really good cheesecake.
It’s freezing. Almost literally. I know all you people who live even 200 miles north of Florida can’t stand our posts about 85 degree beach days in the middle of January, so this weekend you are probably not feeling all that sympathetic that we are FREEZING! Just like Northerners, I always become inspired to cook comfort foods when it’s blustery out and, not wanting to venture into the biting wind, I was not about to go hunting ingredients further than my own kitchen.
There are several pieces of art within a kitchen. Objects that live for years, producing some of the most memorable tastes to grace the kitchen. The first of my collection was my Kitchen Aid mixer. It was a Christmas present years ago from Hubby. Suddenly, batches of cookies weren’t as daunting, whipping egg whites was a breeze and I became more efficient letting the mixer run while I prepared other ingredients. Since then, I have acquired a cast iron skillet, several nice chef knives, and a roasting pan that has delivered some amazing turkeys and roasts. This year, I received a long-awaited Christmas wish, a Le Creuset round french oven.
Within the hour, I was looking up recipes to christen my new collector’s piece. I had already done Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon a couple of years ago for New Years, so this had to be something different. I landed on Bon Appetit’s number 1 recipe of the year, Red Wine Braised Short Ribs. Paired with a wonderful bottle of B Cellars Blend 24.
In the spirit of Auld Lang Syne, a group of my friends from the college years reunite for New Year Year’s Eve every year. We spend half the year selecting a location, finding a house to rent and then all of December planning the meals. This year, it took an 8 bedroom condo in Myrtle Beach to house 10 adults and 6 kids. Three of the regular group weren’t able to attend plus 3 children spent the time with their grandparents, so you can see how this tends to be one big party each year!
Lately, I handle New Year’s Eve dinner. Last year, we had artisan pizzas with all the leftovers in the mountain cabin. This year, I knew I had a big kitchen and plenty of time to prep, so I arranged a tasting party. The first step was to visit the party store. This irks my husband to no end. He hates when I visit the party store because it costs a lot for things made of paper and plastic. I went anyway, rebellious wife that I am!