Monday, April 9, 2012

Desserts for the Oscars

For our annual Oscar party this year, I wanted to make use of the kazillion mini-mason jars that are always clinking and tumbling around my cupboards and just calling out to be made into something pretty and delicious. So I decided on mini dulce de leche cheesecakes, mini coconut cream pies and trifles in a jar, with some s'mores on a stick on the side. Handy-dandy, individual, no-cook, make-ahead desserts that were hopefully gonna simplify my life and delight my guests. Assemble and chill; perfect for my busy weekend.

Maple Mustard Ham for Easter

For the first time in years, we did not go to my sister's house to celebrate Easter with family. There have been so many unsettling things going around here and none of us were up to straying too far from home this time so we decided to hang around the house and have dinner with The Neighbours, which is always a treat. Our upstairs neighbours are moving out after many, many years and it will be the last official building dinner which made it a bit sad but we are all exited for them as they go off on their next adventure and save up for a house of their own - in fact, they have promised to have all of us for dinner next Easter at their new house and we all look forward to that (although The Neighbours and I are bringing all the food because we love her dearly but cooking is not one of her strong suits).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Risotto With Beer

It's not secret that The Kid loves him some risotto and we have had a tough few weeks so I thought he deserved a nice, big bowl of something he loves. I still want to make a risotto with sparkling wine and seared scallops but that would have meant a major shopping trip, which was not in the cards.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Gooey Caramel Butter Bars

I don't know about you but Kraft caramels bring back vivid childhood memories of Halloween for me. Yes, the taste was memorable but even more so was the impossible-to-open challenge of trying to unwrap them without leaving any of the plastic stuck within the deep hard grooves of the little candy, only to be found as a slippery choking hazard in your mouth a few moments later. And you couldn't even try to do it quietly and surreptitiously under your desk during class... the crinkly crackliness would bust you each and every time. But always worth the wait and effort, once the hard caramel softened to a rich creaminess and kept your mouth busy for several happy minutes. None of the cheap no-name versions could ever compete with the real thing... throw them away with all the other Halloween knockoffs and just keep the Kraft originals. Unfortunately, during my teens I discovered the calorie count of one caramel and that pretty much ended my Kraft-caramel love affair for several years. Okay, decades.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Porcupine Meatballs with Smoked Paprika

When I was a kid, one of my brothers would always eat the meat stuffing out of my mom's cabbage rolls and leave all the delicious, tomato sauce napped cabbage untouched. I loved that cabbage  so I always thought he was nuts but just last week, I made gemista and Shack and The Kid did the same thing. They both ate up the stuffing but didn't touch the delicious peppers that the stuffing was roasted in. Clearly, they really liked the meat and rice thing so it made sense to run with that and find another use for it and for some reason, I couldn't get porcupine meatballs out of my mind. It's not even like I have fond childhood memories of eating them  like many of my friends. If my mom ever did make them, she would have used minute rice and cream of mushroom soup so if I she ever served them them I have blocked them out of my mind along with the reoccurring nightmare where everyone in my family turned into zombies and I had nowhere to run. Still, the idea of making them was intriguing but they would have to be different than a bland old meatball with rice on a toothpick.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gemista - Greek Stuff Peppers

There are so many things that I enjoy eating that I have never made myself and stuffed peppers are among those things. I know that Shack had not had them before would love to try them and yet, they have never been attempted in this house. For example, after 17 years of being asked to make veal parmesan , I have never made that for him either so, clearly, I am not really the fabulous, considerate person that I like to think I am.
Regardless, I am making him stuffed peppers now so better late than never, right?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Brown Butter Soda Bread

I guess I go backwards sometimes. After a lifetime of never making bread, I dove into the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day with gusto and spent two winters making all of our artisan loaves. I felt like a master baker, using yeast and not running scared out into the woods. Okay, I didn't have to knead it or do any other fancy bakery things to it but it was real bread and it was good.

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