Showing posts from 2012

2nd Annual Charlie Palmer Holiday Feast

Have you heard of Charlie Palmer? Perhaps you recognize the name. He has a restaurant or two. One is in Manhattan, his flagship. There is also one here in Reno. He is the executive chef at the Grand Sierra Resort (or GSR as we locals know it) and the namesake for the Charlie Palmer Steak House.

I was fortunate to get a ticket to this year's annual holiday feast. It was impressive! There was an ice sculpture at the entry to the Grand Ballroom.

Each course had a wine pairing, but it wasn't a sit-down traditional meal.  Guests were able to go up to serving stations and watch as chefs prepared the food, plated, and garnished it.  It was quite fascinating!

The first thing I tried was the Pheasant Pot Pie with root vegetables and smoked bacon.  It was paired with Napa Cellar's 2011 Pinot Noir. It was beautiful. The "pot pie" crust was actually a chive biscuit. The pheasant was very mild, obviously since it is farm-raised. Wild pheasant has a much more pronounced depth …

Sliders with Tomato Jam

Tonight, I wanted to use up some left-over dinner rolls. Since Justin is working late, I decided to challenge myself, sort of my own take on a Mystery Box Challenge. I made tiny cheeseburgers! Sliders!

My sliders contained beef patties seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Then, I made a tangy tomato-onion jam by sauteing some of my last garden tomatoes with onion and olive oil. I topped the meat with Tillamook cheddar cheese, then the tomato jam, a sweet zucchini pickle (made by Justin's step mom Cheryl), and a little ketchup.

Easy food rocks!

PS The kids did not eat the tomato jam. Or the pickles. Typical kids! They don't know what they're missing!

Venison Stock

Since my dear hubby went hunting and brought home a lovely deer, we've been busy butchering it up.  Justin usually does the most basic cleaning out in the field.  He guts and skins it before it comes home.  Sometimes, he keeps the animal whole. If the weather is too warm, he quarters it and brings it home in coolers with ice.

We usually cut it all down into steaks, stew, and jerky meat right away. I asked him to make some big roasts this year. I have some plans that involve making some pretty fancy British venison dishes. They mostly call for venison stock or demiglaze to complete the sauces. Here was my chance to make some stock, too.

I made sure he saved me a bunch of good bones. I used the leg bones and part of the pelvis. We sawed them into pieces with the reciprocating saw, and I got busy cooking before the marrow had a chance to get weird.

Now I have some beautiful stock ready for action!

PS. This recipe will also work for other red meat animals if you don't want or don&…

Rose's Banana Bread

Doesn't everyone love banana bread?  I will occasionally make it without nuts because sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don't.

Ba dum dum! (cymbal crash!)

Ok, that was cheesy of me. Sorry. Anyhoo. I like banana bread, pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, all sorts of quick breads.  This is one of my favorites.

This batch, I made using chopped Brazil nuts and it was fantastic. Rose usually makes hers with walnuts, but my dear hubby (her grandson) is allergic to them. I typically choose pecans as my general go-to nut for baking.

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups AP flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sour milk (add about 1 teaspoon lemon juice to regular milk, let set until it's curdled)
3 large ripe bananas, mashed about 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup chopped Brazil nuts, walnuts, or pecans

1. Cream the shortening and sugar until mixed well.  Add the eggs and vanilla.

2. Sift together the dry ingredients


The Nugget's Best in the West Rib Cookoff 2012

Oh my goodness. I forgot to post about rib cook off!  Yes, we went. We went more than one day, mind you. We are connoisseurs of ribs.

It seemed like they spaced out the rib booths further from each other than in years past. That made walking around much easier.  We also took advantage of the free bus rides from the Legends mall to the downtown Sparks bus station.

We got ribs from the vendors directly and then also one night we went into the Rib Village for the smorgasbord. The kids now love ribs and devoured them faster than me!

We noted that few of the rib-smokers had whole suckling pigs roasting away. They were about $175 a pig.

We wandered through the vendor booths and the food providers. The kids played in the water fountain in front of the theater and enjoyed a few carnival rides, day and night.

We ate a little of everything. Fried zucchini, onion rings, fried peaches, funnel cake, cream puffs, ice cream bars, ribs, ribs, ribs, and washed it down with lemonade.

Justin still love…

New England Clam Chowder

It's starting to cool down where I live. It's fall. That means it's comfort food season. One of my favorite comfort foods is clam chowder.

 Dear hubby Justin is off hunting. My folks came up to help with the kids while he's away. I made this for dinner since they are very fond of chowder. The kids are still in their weird food phases, so they wouldn't touch it. Silly kids! I wonder how long it will be until they figure out what they've been missing.

1 white onion, minced
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tablespoon butter
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cans clams in juice, (1 can chopped, 1 can minced)
1/8 teaspoon ground thyme
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon minced parsley

1 Saute butter and onion until onion has softened. Add the bacon, potatoes, and juice from the canned clams to the pot. Save the clams …

Basic Bread Pudding

Way back when I was a kid, my mom used to make bread pudding. She also had two different sauces and you never knew which one she felt like making until it was on the table.Sometimes it was a glossy lemon sauce. Sometimes it was whiskey sauce.

I've had tons of bread pudding over the years and I keep changing what goes on top.  That depends on what ingredients I've added to the bread pudding itself.  Chocolate chips baked into the bread pudding with Chantilly creme on top is really good. I also happen to love the recipe below with pecan praline sauce on top.

This example has a simple homemade vanilla caramel sauce drizzle.  Not to shabby for a weeknight, don't you think?

1 small loaf (1lb or so) of cinnamon bread or white bread, cubed, I keep the crust on
6 eggs
3 cups milk, I used whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspooons vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
dash of salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Spread cubed bread in a 9&quo…

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Last week, two of the ingredients in my mystery box that didn't get used for mystery dinner, got used on another night.  Hey, I was not letting this good stuff go to waste!

A while back a saw this recipe from Giada de Laurentiis. So I made it. It was good. The kids wouldn't touch it because, ack! Green veggies!

They're weird kids. They might eat broccoli and green beans, but forget anything else green. Oh well. Kids go through phases. I hope it won't last too long.

Anyhow, I eye'd Giada's recipe and cooked it up. It sounded perfect. I had the pancetta and sprouts left from the mystery box. And you know pancetta is the Italian version of bacon so it has to be good. Anything with bacon is delicious.

Yum, fresh sprouts! I trimmed off the stem end and washed them. Aren't they cute? Like miniature cabbages.

Diced up pancetta frying away.  The addition of garlic was so tantalizing.

Mix it all up, hot and juicy. Add a splash of chicken broth and simmer it down.


Imperfect Potatoes a la Boulangere

Recently, Mom brought me a couple bags of potatoes from her garden. I was quite pleased to get her potatoes since my potatoes failed thanks to bugs.  Darn it for trying to figure out organic gardening.

So what do you make with lots of potatoes?

A while ago, I was looking up French potato casserole recipes, like potatoes dauphinoise and potatoes a la boulangere. They are very similar in technique. Both require peeled, thinly sliced potatoes baked in a dish with some liquid.  Dauphinoise uses cream or milk, while boulangere uses stock or broth.

Now let me remind you, food does not turn out perfectly for me every time. I wish it did!

This was tasty, but a bit soupier than I wanted. I managed to use onions from my garden and they were so good! I added bacon because everyone loves bacon and it really compliments potatoes in general.

about 4 pounds of potatoes, I used Mom's red potatoes
4 slices of thick bacon, sliced into lardons
1 large onion, sliced
1 can low-sodium chick…

Mystery Box Steak Tostada with Squash Apple Peach Taquito

Justin gave me a whole bunch of ingredients today for Mystery Box Dinner #3. There is enough leftover from tonight's meal to have a decent dinner tomorrow, too.

Today, I received fresh Brussels sprouts, green beans, beef top round steaks, pork ribs, corn tortillas, dill gherkin pickles, a chunk of banana squash, basmati rice, canned whole mild chiles, canned whole tomatillos, prosciutto, pancetta, fontina cheese, goat's milk cheese, pinto beans, and red kidney beans.
I raided the fridge and pantry for vegetable oil, lemon, white wine vinegar, a habanero chili pepper, mayonnaise, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, chicken bouillon, a green apple, agave nectar, a peach, and herbs and spices.
 I combined the tomatillos, half the can of mild chiles, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and a tiny bit of the habanero chili to make salsa verde.

The pinto beans got smashed with some diced mild green chili, oil, and spices to become refried beans.

The basmati rice, combined with chicken bouillon, sal…

Home Canned Tomatoes

I had 10 pounds of tomatoes sitting in the fridge. I decided we couldn't eat all the tomatoes from the garden right away and that canning them (actually preserving them in a jar) was a good idea.

It's a lot of work to preserve anything in a jar. I had forgotten this.  It's been a few years since we've had enough of anything to make canning worthwhile. Thankfully, Mom was around to help me. Also I relied heavily on my copy of the Ball Canning and Preserving Blue Book.

I got my supplies together and washed.

We blanched the tomatoes to get the skins off then cut out the stem-end core.

We sliced them in half and loaded them into hot jars with 2 T. lemon juice and 1 tsp. kosher salt per quart jar. I did not add water or pre-cook the tomatoes. This was a pack-in-its-own-juice type of recipe.

Then we boiled them forever, or for what seemed that long. They actually cooked for 1 hour 35 minutes thanks to the altitude adjustment. (Please research correct cooking times for your …