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My new oven

24 Nov

Earlier this fall around the beginning of September I started noticing my oven-cooked food being a little more difficult to cook. Things werent turning out right (soggy on bottom and burnt on top), it was taking forever to reach any kind of temperature (2 hours to hit 400), and I couldnt handle it anymore.

Quite frankly, it was depressing to cook and bake any longer. I didnt know if my food was going to turn out right or not. Then I had to learn how to make use of the top heating coil instead of the bottom one (which was no longer working) without scorching things. It took about 2.5 hours last weekend to make a tray of brownies.

This was the same oven that had been in the house practically since it was built in 1977! So it was definitely time for a new one. My parents being wonderfully awesome, foresaw the holidays coming and knew I would want to bake for everyone……so they offered to get me a new oven for my christmas present this year. How fabulous!!!!!!! Isnt it glorious????

My new oven was delivered this morning. I cant stand how awesome it is. I love it already. I cant wait to cook all of my blog recipes on my new stove 🙂 🙂  Thanks mom and dad!!!!!!!

Now my kitchen is starting to match – Dishwasher on the left and Stove on the right. Next step: replace the microwave above the range.

I made a trial run with brownies and turkey curry soup. If the soup is any good, I’ll let you know 😉

Bourbon and Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes – Happy Thanksgiving!

24 Nov

From the minute I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit (November 2012), I knew I was going to make it for Thanksgiving. I am usually the Sweet Potato/Yams girl – and I usually bring Candied Yams. But I am getting tired of plain ole candied yams. I wanted to step it up this year. And I am really not into the whole marshmellow thing.

The sauce was delicious and soooo easy. I might have also added a splash or two more of bourbon than the recipe calls for. I cant help it. More alcohol, more better right? 🙂

I cant stress how easy this recipe was to make. The hardest part about it is peeling and chopping the sweet potatoes. And even that’s not a big deal.

Get the potatoes all nice and roasted and crispy if possible. So delicious. I could sit down with just the plain roasted sweet potatoes……yum!

You make the sauce separate from roasting the sweet potatoes. Then pour it on right before serving and add the toasted almonds. It is so good – you can really taste the coffee and bourbon flavors. The flavor complements the sweetness of the potatoes.

This makes a perfect side dish anytime, but really glams up the thanksgiving table if I dont say so myself. Here is a pic of our 3 turkeys that my brother Pat made – baked, smoked, and fried……everyone had their favorite type of the night. But they were all so tasty and well-cooked. My brother makes some goodass meat!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends!!!

Bourbon and Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups strong hot coffee
  • 9 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons(packed) dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled, cut into 2 1/2-inch–3-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped smoked almonds (or toasted almonds)

Directions:

  • Stir coffee, maple syrup, sugar, and espresso powder in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil; cook until thickened and reduced by half, 6-7 minutes.
  • Remove syrup from heat; add bourbon and 2 tablespoons butter. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is reduced to about 3/4 cup, 40-45 minutes (mixture should be thick enough to coat a spoon, but not sticky, and will thicken as it cools). Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (DO AHEAD: Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Rewarm before serving.)
  • Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 425°. Melt remaining 7 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan; pour into a large bowl. Add sweet potatoes and oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide potato mixture between 2 large rimmed baking sheets and roast, turning potatoes often and rotating sheets halfway through, until potatoes are tender and start to turn golden brown and crisp around the edges, 30-35 minutes. (DO AHEAD: Potatoes can be roasted 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. You dont have to rewarm before serving since the sauce will be warmed.)
  • Toast your almonds (either in oven or in sautee pan on stove)
  • Transfer potatoes to a serving platter. Drizzle some warm sauce over and sprinkle with almonds; serve remaining sauce along-side for those who want more.

Hard….boiled

27 Jul

I have a close family – we are always in and out of my parent’s house  especially in the summertime. I think checking to see what’s in their fridge is a mandate whenever we are there. I stopped in last summer while they were away for a weekend. My mom told me she left a hardboiled egg in the fridge and that I could have it if I wanted.

I get there and see that there is NO mistaking which egg is hard boiled! What a goof!!!

Individual Pancetta and Spinach Egg Cups

15 May

I found this recipe in Coastal Living magazine….totally random, I know! But it grabbed my attention because it looked SO EASY and tasty. And they are crustless.

Ingredients

For Mother’s Day every year we plan a potluck brunch at my brother’s house and I am always looking for something unique to bring. This year, Mother’s Day fell on the day after my huge Supper Club Greek Feast. I knew I would be cooking for a couple days and wouldn’t be able to handle anything too crazy.

Pancetta-lined muffin cups

Spinach and Cheese in the cup

Voila! Pancetta and Spinach Egg Cups! These puppies are SO easy and take literally minutes to prepare. And they look so fancy when they are finished!

Egg inside, ready to bake!

Oh, the original recipe called for Prosciutto, but I thought it said Pancetta when I quickly looked at it  so that’s what I bought. It turns out that it doesn’t really matter! Pancetta was super good and bacon-y  so when I make them again, I will stick with it!

All baked!

Cross section – you can see the gooey cheese and spinach in there

It was a great Mother’s Day Brunch! My sister-in-law, Julie, made her famous french toast; I brought the egg cups; my brother, Jerry, made a nice salad and breakfast sausage; and my mom brought the fruit salad. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there 🙂

Mother’s Day Spread

I gotta show this picture again – it was soooooo good.

Yum

Individual Pancetta and Spinach Egg Cups

Ingredients:

  • 12 thin slices Pancetta (about ½ pound or so)
  • 10 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Dash of milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh spinach, stems trimmed and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan (or 12 ramekins).

Place pancetta slices into bottoms and up sides of cups, overlapping. I used 2 slices per cup – you can just use 1 slice and be fine if you like.

Divide spinach first and then cheese among muffin cups.

Combine eggs, milk, salt, and pepper as you would if you were preparing scrambled eggs. Then pour evenly into muffin cups. Don’t fill all the way to the top.

Bake muffin cups 14-16 minutes or until just set. Using my brother’s convection oven, it took more like 25 minutes – but I would start out with 15 minutes and play it by ear to see if it needs more time or not.

Let stand about 5 minutes. Then loosen cups by running a knife around the edges of each cup, and lift out of the pan with a small spatula. Serve immediately. Makes 12 servings.

Easter 2012

9 Apr

Easter this year fell on Grandmom Mullaney’s birthday – if you remember, this blog is named after a famous catch-phrase that Grandmom Mullaney used to say. So we remembered Grandmom Mullaney at dinner yesterday not only by discussing her birthday, but also by having 3 desserts to choose from…..thus requiring some folks to request “a sliver of each”.

Anyway, here are a couple snippets from our holiday – we were 2 brothers (and their families) short so it was a lighter holiday dinner than normal. We also had Pat’s friend, Paul, join us as well. He is a professional photographer so we were lucky to get some great pics from him!

This Easter was fabulous – the weather was beautiful (high 60’s, breezy, and sunny), the food was delicious, and the laughs kept coming.  Here are some shots.

Here were the apps. I made two of them: The spinach gruyere pinwheels and the roasted grape crostinis – I will post recipes for these items in the near future. My mom made cheese straws and also stuffed peppadews with goat cheese and had some olives and candy.

It wouldnt be easter without the easter egg hunt! Notice how 2 of the parents are just as active in the hunt as their children???

After the Hunt...counting the loot!

Here was a family group shot – I love these and we’ve had a couple occasions to do them this year.

Here are some dinner shots. Our menu consisted of: Lamb, twice-baked potatoes (made by Julie), grilled asparagus, salads with baked goat cheese, pickled beets, and bread (made by me!).

Pre-dinner shot with Maddie and Mom-mom

Roasted lamb with twice-baked potatoes

Grilled Asparagus and salad

One of my faves....Donkey and Goat - made by Patrick's friend, Jared

Before the feeding frenzy begins

And even the peacock came to say hello! (even though we lit off a quarter stick of dynamite 2 hours prior to try to get him to LEAVE – obviously, it didn’t work!) If anyone lives in the area and would love to have a peacock on their property – and you think you can catch him – please let me know. My parents would be so grateful for you to have him.

Someone take this peacock away from my parents house

And for dessert: My mom’s amazing Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Lemon Meringue Pie, and Birthday Cake for me (since it was my birthday the day before). It was a tough choice to decide on just one. Some of us needed a sliver of each!!!

3 choices for dessert

All in all, it was a wonderful day for everyone.

Family Cookbook

20 Feb

Family Cookbook - Cover

As I’ve talked about previously, my mom put together Family Cookbooks for my brothers and I that includes all of our old family favorite recipes, recipes from our ancestors, and also recipes that we have contributed. She took Vera Bradley large notebooks, put our names on the covers, and photocopied almost 100 of the same recipes. One of the most PRIZED recipes is my Grandmom’s Apple Pancake recipe.

Inside Cover - Grandmom's Pancake recipe

But she also included some other fun things like prayers, inspirational quotes, and pictures of all of us eating!

Quotes and PrayersOld family pics - early days

She covered every category – appetizers, sides, veggies, breakfast, and desserts.

Sample Recipe Spread

Some recipes I had never seen before – and some I was overjoyed to have the official copy of.

More old pics - looks like my 1st birthday eating cake

There couldn’t have been a better present to give all of us. I’ve cracked my cookbook open SEVERAL times. Sometimes I just get it out and look at it a couple times. It’s fascinating and it brings back memories from family get-togethers.

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