Monthly Archives: October 2013

Corn Chowder – Family Friends and Food

We went to visit a friend in her newly renovated camp in Millinocket Maine. Kind of sounds like a theme with us this years.  It is around a 6 hour drive north; I did keep my eye out looking for a sight of a moose; mostly so we didn’t hit one as there were many signs on the way that said to watch out for them.  But I really wanted to see one; I did have to laugh a couple of times at myself, did I really think I would be able to see a moose while driving 75+ miles an hour on the highway? I did not – not any all weekend!

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We had a wonderful meal Friday night of Roast Beef, Gravy, Baked Potato, Butternut Squash, Green Beans and Yorkshire pudding; all were excellent!  We stayed up pretty late talking, drinking and laughing; when I woke up, way too early around 6am – I know I have issues! I was the only one that got to see the sunrise and it was pretty AMAZING!  The house was extremely quiet, the view unbelievable and the water’s edge was so incredibly close. While I was sitting there I had a kind of epiphany.  I have had a pretty great year so far!!! I am very blessed and extremely grateful for my family and friends.  I am very proud of my kids; I am thrilled they are happy and healthy and that we have a very close relationship.  I am grateful for the friends I have, the ones that live close by and I see often and the ones that are further away and that I was able to spend more time with them this year.  I started a cooking class and a blog that are both getting a lot of positive attention. People seem really interested in knowing more about both, even all the way up in Maine.

We had a Halloween party Saturday night that we all helped get ready for.  We had Swedish Meatballs, Corn Chowder and a yummy cake to make.  I was in charge of the Corn Chowder.  I will admit that I have only made this once maybe twice ever.  My family doesn’t like it so I don’t have a “set” recipe in my head.  I do however enjoy making soups/chowders and believe it or not my class on Thursday was a soup/chowder class.  It must have been a sign. I do tend to use things up in the fridge in my soups.  So I started by chopping up onions, celery and julienned some carrots. Sautéed them in some olive oil and a little butter; Thyme is one of my favorite herb for chowders, so that was my base and it help build a yummy soup from there.  Everyone, except Rich, loved it.  Told you he doesn’t like it!

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Corn Chowder

2-3 or even if you dare 4-5 pieces of crispy bacon

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Large Onion chopped

2 Stalks of Celery diced

2-3 Carrots julienned

5 Tablespoons flour

1 Teaspoon thyme

2 Cups Chicken Stock

4 Cups Milk

1 Cup Heavy Cream  by using more milk it lightens it up quite a bit)

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon fresh crack black pepper

3 Large potatoes diced

2 Bags of frozen Sweet Corn (or 5 ears of fresh ears of cut off their cob and blanched in some salted water for 3 minutes)

In a large stockpot over medium high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp.  Remove the bacon and set aside.  Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions, carrot and celery and butter to the fat, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.  Stir in the flour, salt and pepper and thyme, cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the chicken stock and the potatoes bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.  Add the corn and the heavy cream.  Season to taste, serve hot and garnish with crumbled bacon.

GO SOX!!!

Garlic Herb Crusted Center Cut Pork Loin

Super busy weekend AGAIN…I am not complaing – just tired and stuffy today!

Dinner out at MT’s in Nashua Friday night, I am going to try my hand at making their yummy sweet and salty wings.  They have no breading on them, they are baked not fried and they have maple syrup with a bacon crumble on top. They are simply divine!!!

Bought some new skis at our local mountain ski swap; ran to Nashua again for material, I have a baby shower coming up this weekend and I am going to make large versions of receiving blankets. Everyone loves them; at least that is what I keep hearing!  Off to VT (supposed to leave at 2, I didn’t get home till almost 3) to our good friends to have dinner and see their newly built addition. It looks great by the way; it looks like it has always been there; not an afterthought which can happen with addition’s – Nice Job!!!!

Someone; and I won’t name names; had a little too much wine to drink Saturday night, the next morning after we all woke up and the coffee had been made; this particular someone disappeared; he was found sleeping in the car with his sunglasses on covered with a blanket – kind of funny!!! Only because it wasn’t me… You should have seen the look on his face when we mentioned we were going to breakfast at Sugar and Spice, priceless!  He did feel better after eating, but it took a little while! The maple syrup for my buttermilk pancakes (they make their own) reminded me of the wings from Friday night.  Food full circle for me – when I have time; hopefully soon; I will be writing about sweet and salty wings.

After breakfast we rushed home for my husband’s Uncles 86th b-day party. By the time we got home tonight I was exhausted and thanks to my son; he gave me his cold; my head is very foggy!  Forgive me if I do not make any sense today!

Another weekend without grocery shopping and the only thing that I could make quickly was a center cut boneless pork loin. Probably doesn’t sound like a quick simple thing to fix but since I still have some herbs in the garden that have not been lost yet to the weather, and thanks to the harvest this year, we have potatoes, garlic and beets – Voila!  Garlic and Herb crusted pork loin, mashed potatoes and Beets!

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2-4 lb center cut pork loin patted dry with a paper towel

pre heat over to 450′

2 Tsp Kosher Salt

1 Tsp freshly Cracked Black Pepper

2 Tsp fresh Sage leaves chopped

2 Tsp fresh Rosemary chopped

5 minced garlic cloves

2 TBS olive oil

Mix the above (salt thru olive oil) in a small bowl into a paste

place pork in a low sided roasting pan – cover with paste mixture – place in over for 20 mintues, lower heat to 300′ and continue roasting for another 20-30 minutes – an instant read meat thermometer should reach 145′.  Everyone’s oven is different so a meat thermometer will be one of your best tools, these times are what I used for my 4lb loin. Tent with tinfoil and let sit for 10 mintues before slicing – YUM!

“Honey are you trying to fatten me up?” “You were on FIRE this week!”

Those were Just a couple of quotes from my husband this week!  Apparently I made a lot of yummy things.  Actually I must admit they were all pretty yummy.  The “are you trying to fatten me up” comment was on Wednesday,

I think it all started with Sunday night – I made a French Apple tart that I had never made before – Yummy and Easy!

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2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water

For the apples:
4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small diced
1/2 cup apricot jelly

2 tablespoons Rum, or water

For the pastry, place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 by 14-inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.

Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife. Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don’t worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine! When the tart’s done, heat the apricot jelly together with the Rum and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn’t stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature. – this is a recipe I found online that is Ina Gartens – I love her!!!

Monday was Ribeye Steak, Mashed Potato, Mushroom Gravy and Asparagus – I think I mentioned before that I am not a fan of Mushrooms!  SO my way of “hiding” them was to chop them as small as I possibly could; the gravy was SO delicious that I couldn’t NOT eat it.  I was told after dinner that “we can have that more often” Ya I’ll get right on it!  My son likes Mushrooms and hates asparagus – which was why I made both – take that!!!!

Tuesday I got up early and threw a beef stew together – I will even admit; it was the best one I made in a crockpot, Hands down!  Wednesday nightI tried another new recipe.  I had harvested my Leeks among other things and had tore one away from it’s root so I wanted to use it up quickly.  I found a recipe online that used the leeks, pancetta which I had in the fridge and chicken stock that I am never without; whether it is my own or from the store. Make some pasta, saute leeks and pancetta add wine and stock and add it all together and cover it with Parmigiano Reggiano Voila!

The “On Fire” comment was when he was getting ready to take me out to dinner on Friday!  I will confess that I was less successful with the dropped eggs on toast Friday morning – Note to self; when poaching eggs. DO NOT leave the kitchen for ANY reason!!!

I ended my week night cooking (we usually go out to dinner on Friday nights) with a new recipe I found in a magazine Deconstructed BLT – This one is a keeper!!!

6 slices of Bacon

4 French Baguette slices

1/4 Cup soft goat cheese

4 Cups Bibb lettuce (I used boston)

2 large tomatoes sliced

1/4 Cup white balsamic vinegar (I didn’ t have white)

2 Tbls extra virgin olive oil

1 large clove of garlic minced

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

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Cook bacon until crisp – set aside

toast baguette slices until brown/crispy, spread with goat cheese and set aside

divide lettuce a nd tomatoes among 2 plates. Whisk together vinegar and next 5 ingredients, drizzle over tomatoes and lettuce

Top salad with bacon and baguette slices. Sprinkle with additional black pepper is desired.

Makes 2 servings – I doubled it as there were 4 of us!

My husband did harvest his potatoes this week – He got an entire wheelbarrow full AND was disapointed it wasn’t more.  Who is trying to fatten up who here! I love potatoes and of course me being me, I don’t want anything to spoil so I must use them up!  I did go out and purchase a rack system and some baskets (KP we didn’t get enough last night) to hopefully make them last for MONTHS!!!  He did have a few ummmmm mutant ones (see last photo) that I won’t bring out for my cooking class or bring out when friends come over to make dinner…BUT we will still eat them!

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It HAS to be the weather; it being so cool and this weekend kind of drizzly – I made a Roaster Chicken for dinner tonight – Swedish Meatballs, Italian Meatballs and Marinara Sauce for later in the week.  This weekend was filled with putting aways screens, summer cars, (my 89′ Mustang GT Convertable, he has a 85′ SVO) washing windows, deep down and dirty cleaning, washing walls and the risers on the stairs – you get the picture.  Oh Ya and lots of cooking!!!

Next weekend my Garlic is going in!!!

Golf weekend, leaf peeping and a quick yummy dinner!

Left town on Friday around 1pm and headed North for a weekend of golfing & laughs with another couple.  Not even thinking that North in New England this time of year generally means the leaf peepers are out and about; though the colors are not at their peak just yet.  The turning of the trees is one of many magical moments in New England; if you have never been here in the fall; you have never really been here.  The mountains and the trees are just amazing; we were in the lower White Mountains for the weekend.  I have lived here my whole life and I am still in awe when the trees show their colors. Going from green to bright yellow, or red, or orange; really any color in between. When the sun hits them just right ahhhhhhhhh beautiful!!!!! There are very few people that don’t stop and take it all in.

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We were able to get in 16 holes before the early setting sun made it impossible to find where our balls were landing. Actually kind of funny; my husband landed on the green in two and never saw either hit land.  They were great hits, we think!  I lost one of my pink balls, which come to think of it was kind of a pain to locate if I hit into the dropped leaves.  It didn’t stop me from using them all weekend though.  I only truly lost one that was on the 16th hole in the dark; we heard it go through the leaves but could never located it; I even tried looking again when we played the course the next day in the daylight – no luck. I did have a trick up my sleeve for dusk play. A few years back I was lucky enough to stay late with some friends after the womens league I play in. Someone brought out some light up balls – they are SO cool! We kept playing the 18th hole over and over again – Had a blast!  I ordered some of them shortly after; I finally got to use them on Friday night to finish out the 16th hole.  Very Cool!!!

I won’t bore you anymore since this is a foodies blog but I must tell you about my best shot of the weekend.  on the 4th hole at Owls Nest course Friday (in the daylight) after taking my ball out of the water I barely rolled into, I chipped a 50 footer into the hole for par; even though I had to take a drop – I think I peaked too early! Just saying – nothing as exciting after that!

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We got another 18 on Sunday before the rain started; it actually started when we were on the last hole; but we had to finish – too close not too.  Arriving home late in the afternoon on Sunday being very chilled chilled even after our 2 hour drive home; it was 59′ out cold raw and damp.  I wanted something warm yummy and quick!  I had some beets that I had picked from my garden before we left; and even though my husband planted enough potatoes for an army; he hasn’t picked them yet; We always have potatoes in the house, so I picked some thyme from the garden and made roasted thyme potatoes, sliced up the beets and boiled them and Cider Honey Glazed Chicken thighs.  Sorry the picture isn’t very good quality; I took it with my phone, pretty tired but I wanted to share this because it was delicious!!!

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1TBS olive oil – Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
1 cup apple cider
2 TBS honey
1 1/2 TBS cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Oven rack should be set at 6″ from the broiler, heat oven to 450′. Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with foil

rub the chicken with the oil and the salt and pepper, place thighs skin side up, place in the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes; they will be lightly browned and done through – you can double check with a meat thermometer (not near the bone) it should read 165′ F.

While cooking place the cider and honey in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer vigorously until the mixture has reduced by half.  remove from heat and wisk in the butter.

Turn to broiler; brush the chicken with the cider glaze and broil for a minute or two, brush with more glaze, broil again until deep golden brown, 2-3 minutes.  Remove chicken brush with more of the glaze and serve.

Both pictures look great on my phone; they do not transfer well – I will use my camera from now on!!!