Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What's for dinner - #1

I really like to cook.  And am not afraid of experimenting.  For Christmas dinner, I roasted some butternut squash with a large fennel bulb and an onion.  I tossed that in Kosher salt, olive oil and then sprinkled on a mixture of chili powder, ground cumin and ground cinnamon.  The recipe called for tumeric, but I was out of it and did without.

The veges were delicious with the Cornish hens with apricot/brandy glaze.  I had enough leftover veges to make soup for tonight.  I pureed the leftovers in a blender and added homemade turkey stock from Thanksgiving until it got to the consistency I wanted (somewhat thick) and simply heated it until it was hot.

I served it with an omelette filled with mushrooms which had been sauteed with garlic; then added some grated Jack cheese. Yum.  For dessert, I had leftover baked pears (in Gewurztraminer wine, ground cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon sticks and orange peel.  Next time, I would add some fresh ginger and perhaps top with a dollop of mascarpone cheese).

I love that leftovers can be turned into another meal that is different and delicious!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Do we have snow!!

New Jersey got walloped with a blizzard - the total snowfall for my area was 28.7 inches at last count.  The winds are whipping - I heard that they were as strong as a Category 1 hurricane.  The drifts are unbelievable, some of them 4 to 5 feet in the back yard, higher out front.

I took these pictures early this morning.  Poor Kylie just can't find her "spot."  I dug out a path and an open area, but it just isn't to her liking.  When she tries to get out of that area, she finds herself sinking into the snow up to her neck!

I'm going out in a bit to take pictures of the front after the shoveling - the piles of snow must be 10 feet or more in places!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Boxing Day!

It's cold.  It's snowing.  It's windy.  The wind chill just dropped to 12 degrees!  It's been forecast that we may get up to 16 inches of snow.  That calls for - a big pot of tomato sauce bubbling on the stove!  Sure to warm up the kitchen, where some of yesterday's dinner aromas still linger...

The scent of tomatoes, garlic and olive oil simmering together with herbs, spices and red wine is almost intoxicating to me.  I find it comforting; a few family members have stated that it will "cure anything."

Today's batch will be missing the fennel seeds that I always put in the sauce as I ran out last week and my order from Mt. Rose Herbs is somewhere between Oregon and New Jersey.  I knew I should have placed that order sooner!  Oh, well - the nice thing about sauce is that you can improvise and it will still be good.  I have some tops of a fennel bulb that I will saute with the garlic, onion and other herbs/spices and that should impart enough of the fennel flavor that I love.

The usual ingredients for my sauce are:  canned San Marzano tomatoes, some tomato paste, olive oil, lots of garlic, onion, salt, fennel seed, crushed red pepper, basil, oregano, bay leaf, red wine, a pinch of sugar and a piece of rind (washed) from either Grana Padano or Reggiano Parm cheese, which gives a nice, rich depth to the sauce.  I'm hoping my Saucy Sista will show up and share her recipe, which I am sure is delicious!!  Actually, any of you can feel free to share your favorite tomato sauce recipe - I'd love to read what ingredients you use!  I often use the Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes in place of the San Marzano to give a different flavor - with that, I'll often fry pancetta and use some of the fat in addition to the olive oil when sauteing the garlic, onions, etc.

Tonight, the sauce will be tossed with some linguine noodles and served with grilled garlic chicken sausage, along with a mixed green salad.  Sure to satisfy on this blizzardy day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New digs...

The blog is open, but there's lots of work to do on it, as you can see.  It reminds me of the remodeling being done in my new apartment - a work in progress.  Hopefully, I can attend to the blog with more frequency after I move in January.

Wishing all of you a happy Solstice and Yuletide season!!