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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!
this blog started in late 2009 as an outlet for two of my favorite hobbies, writing and cooking. It’s been an introspective journey, discovering new flavors, techniques and life lessons. I am not as active as I want to be these days, so exhausted with my day job and raising 2 little ones who deserve my attention and love.
Yet, I will persevere. Tomorrow I am creating a tasting party with Shanghai Drummettes, Roasted Garlic filled tomato bites, a version of bang bang shrimp and more. Hopefully, I can share it with you later this week.
Happy New Year!!! May 2013 be a year full of peace and love for all of you!
WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.
Moms. You love them. You hate them. They kiss the boo boos and ruin all the fun. You think they must be out of touch until you grow and discover that they knew everything all along. They say they just want you to be around for Mother’s Day to give them a quick kiss and say hi, but I’m a Mom. We want much more than that.
We want to be lavished with gifts and told how needed we are and how loved we are, especially since we changed the poopy diapers, fought for you to get the good teachers and worried about you every single second since you were conceived. So, my gift to my readers….here are 3 ways to spoil Mom this Mother’s Day and it won’t even cost you that much time or money.
#1 Can’t afford the spa?
She doesn’t like other people touching her? Make her homemade spa gifts to treat herself! There are multiple homemade spa recipes online. You can put them in a nice jar with a pretty bow and Mom will be thrilled. Here is one I thought was pretty nice:
Foaming Vanilla Honey Bath
- 1/2 cup sweet almond oil (substitute olive oil or sesame oil)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup liquid soap
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Measure the oil into a medium bowl, then carefully stir in remaining ingredients until mixture is fully blended. Pour into a clean jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Shake gently before using. Enough for four large luxurious baths. Swirl desired amount into the bathtub under running water. Light some candles and turn on some soft music.
#2 Special Breakfast in Bed
I honestly can’t remember if I have posted this recipe, but this is hands down my favorite breakfast recipe, inspired by a breakfast at First Watch. Don’t just put it on a tray. Take the time to do it up nice. Use the good china. Put out a cloth napkin. Put a bud vase with a pretty flower in it. Lay her card on there too if you have one.
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp butter
- Handful of fresh spinach, washed and dried
- 3 oz. 1/4″ cut ham, chopped into bite sized pieces
- Hollandaise Sauce package with required ingredients (Should be butter and milk or water)
- Handful of shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 croissant, sliced in half
Start by making the Hollandaise sauce by following the package directions. Keep it warm on the stove, stirring occasionally. Whisk the 3 eggs together with a splash of milk. Melt butter on medium low in a saute pan. Scramble the eggs to Mom’s liking and add the ham to the pan to heat. Place the croissant on a plate and lay the scrambled eggs on top. Wilt the spinach in the sauce pan until warm and soft with a slight crunch. Add the spinach to the croissant and egg stack. Add the ham to the stack. Top with cheese and a spoonful or two of the sauce. Serve warm!
Pack the sauce away in a Tupperware container to put over vegetables later and make sure to do all the dishes, clean the counters, and put everything away! Mom will appreciate that most.
#3 Put together a gift basket just for HER
Ask yourself what Mom likes. Does she like to read? Does she enjoy chocolates, fine wines and cheeses? Does she love a sports team or being with her kids? Once you answer the question “What does she like?”, you’ll have a theme in your head. Put together a basket, box, or bag with things that represent that theme and Mom will be happy that you took the time to think about her.
Thanks Mom, for inspiring me to be the person I am today. Love you!!
Most people love to go out for Cinco de Mayo. I can’t remember ever doing that. I never was a big party girl, preferring small groups with great conversation to loud, crowded rooms with strangers sweating on me. Don’t misunderstand. Everyone needs to experience as much as they can in life and I had enough of those nights to know that as freeing and fun as they can be in one moment, the feeling doesn’t last. But the strength that great friendships build in us last a lifetime and nurturing them is most satisfying.
We called up our close friends last night and asked them to come over for a little Cinco de Mayo dinner. I have to give the credit to my sous chef and grill master husband. He had the idea and found the feature dish, Tequila Lime Marinated Skirt Steak with Charred Tomatillo Salsa. It came from the excellent Weber Grilling app. That thing is fantastic: Grilling times, recipes, a time, techniques, and a grocery list are all at your fingertips! (Not a sponsor, we just love the thing.) The recipe isn’t available on line and since it is theirs, I am directing you to the app to get it.