Sunday, December 23, 2012

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

And all through the house, spread the smells of Coq Au Vin and delicious brussel sprouts.

Ok, so it's the night before the night before, but the dinner menu still stands! Nick and I will be playing the roles of Julia Child and Jacques Pepin this Christmas eve while we make two of my favorite dishes!  Normally, I love Christmas but we've been working on so many other things that my normal prep and planning haven't quite come together. I'll still pull it off, and am excited to share a fun French meal with Nick and my Mom.

So what is is on the menu? Read on!

White bean hummus (so smooth, creamy and garlicky-and easy to make!)

The Main Course:
Coq Au Vin
White cheddar jalapeno polenta
Brussel Sprout Fricassee

Lemon meringue pie with lemon curd (oh, delicious puffy pillows of meringue, baked and torched, snuggling sweet, tangy curd).

Pinot Noir with the main course
Muscadet with dessert
Fizzy water mixed with peaches for me

I am so excited to put this together! Recipes to follow soon :)  I may make some last minute changes to my base recipes.

What's on your menu this Holiday Season?

PS~ I'll leave you with two quotes from Julia Child that make my heart happy.
"Life itself, is the proper binge" and "If you're afraid of butter, use cream"

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

I am pretty darn lucky these days. I have great people in my life, a new dog that brings me so many giggles, and two cats that I am pretty sure are mostly normal. I have a healthy baby, my mom and 4 out of 6 Grandparents left. I have a roof over my head, enough money to live on, and a full fridge. I count myself blessed.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday-it combines food, family, relaxation, and it's not quite winter, so there's still leaves to play in. You really can't beat it.

As I type, my house smells of Brioche dough baking for stuffing later today, and I have a raging fire in front of me, warming up the house. Kip, my dog, is looking around wondering where the food smells are coming from.  Its a good day.

This year, Nick and I decided to do Thanksgiving solo-it's potentially our last Holiday as a couple, before we become a family, since Izzy has less than 7 weeks to go. Yep, my little turkey is super close. We have quite the menu planned out, too. On that note, I present my Thanksgiving 2012 menu, and a fond thank you to all of you, for reading my blogs and for being in my life. Thank you, thank you!

Thanksgiving Menu 2012

Goat Cheese, Organic Ham, Leek, Wild Mushroom Tart
Egg Nog
Toast with Blackberry Sage Jelly

The Main Course
Porcini Mushroom Turkey with Mushroom Sage Gravy
Cointreau Cinnamon Cranberry Jelly
Green Beans with Onions, Garlic and Pancetta
Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips with Garlic and Goat Cheese
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Greens, Fennel, and Wild Game Sausage Stuffing with Toasted Brioche
Sparkling Cider (for me)
Full Sail Wassail (for Nick)

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Pear Butter
Chai Tea or Butter Bear

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Salted Caramel Pear Butter

First off, what is it?  Does it have butter?  Is it good??  Fruit butter is like thick apple sauce. It’s a spreadable fruit paste that is so good!  There’s no butter in it, and it is delicious!

I learned a few lessons from this one.
One: Crockpots didn’t give me the texture I wanted.
Two: Time isn’t something a crockpot cares about. I cooked the butter on high for about 36 hours before I gave up and blended it, then used the stove top to cook the pear butter down. I think that had I used the stove top, there would be more of a caramel flavor too. Good lesson learned!   

Bottom line, would I make this again. Yes!  It is so good!!


  • 9 lbs of ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped (do this after you gather all of your ingredients, so you don’t end up with oxidized fruit.
  • Booze. (it is me, afterall). I used 4 tablespoons of dark rum
  • 1/4 apple juice (I used non-filtered)
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 heaping and packed cups dark brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg (fresh grated)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger (dried)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt

The spices I used were to taste and fall-oriented. If you like more, put in more!
I combined the sugar, spices and liquids together in the crockpot and turned it on high while I prepped the pears. Once they were all chopped, I threw it all together and mixed it up, making sure I scraped the bottom of the pot and that the pears were coated. I out on the lid and waited. And waited.
And waited.
Oh, how I waited. After 36 hours, I was tired of waiting, and blended it all up, and put it in a dutch oven and cooked it down until it had the consistency I wanted.  I sterilized 9 pint , filled with a ¼ in headspace, and did a water bath boil for 10 minutes.
It has a rich, caramel color, smells like fall and taste like happiness! It is so good on greek yogurt, but would go well with chicken, as a glaze.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Comfort food

Hello, dear readers!  I ended up sick last week, which led me to hold on writing for a little while!  I made more comfort food than anything and ate a lot of hot and sour soup from my fave Thai place.  This week, I'll be doing a recap of some the last menu I posted, with recipes, and finally posting the salted caramel pear butter that I made too!

Please keep visiting over the weekend, for new recipes, lessons learned, and a delicious new menu for next week !

Yours in food

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Crunchy deliciousness....

I love textures mixing with my tastes. I like sweet, and bitter and something neutral that sucks up flavor like a yummy sponge.  One of my favorite sides is Apple, Jicama and Fennel slaw. It's quick, easy, yummy, and gets better with a little time.  It reminds me of spring and early season BBQ's with a new IPA and bratwursts, as well as fall picnics with warm sweaters and fluffy quilts. It's definitely a household favorite~  Enjoy!

Apple, Jicama and Fennel slaw

1 green apple, cored
1 large bulb fennel, fluffy fronds removed close to the bulb
1 bulb jicama, peeled
I wait to chop everything, so the apple doesn't brown. I gather the following-add to taste. You'll want enough of the following to really coat the salad.
Olive oil (I don't use much, maybe a Tbspn or so)
Coconut vinegar (you can also use rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar)-1/4 c-with sharp vinegar's,  use a little less and add more as you go!
large pinch of salt
large pinch of pepper
1-2 Tbspn of honey (I tend to go more if I have a sharp vinegar)
pinch of garlic powder
One large spoon full of Dijon mustard
I chop everything in to thick-ish match sticks and place in a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. I like to chill it for a while and stir up before I serve it. Its crunchy, sweet and sour, and yummy. Perfect for picnics!  If you wanted, you could add sweet onion or orange slices for extra variety too. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

This weeks menu

To kick off fall, I'm going to be cooking some of my favorite items, along with some new dishes!  I'll post an update with the better dishes, or those that I get requests for!

Sunday and Monday~Roasted spaghetti squash, with tomato balsamic glazed chicken meatballs and spicy homemade spaghetti sauce
Tuesday~Sausage, lentil and rainbow chard soup with spiced cider and Full Sail Berliner Weiss to drink
Wednesday~Modified Beef Wellington with Chai tea and Merlot
Thursday~leftovers with micro green salad with balsamic roasted figs
Friday~Breakfast for dinner!  Creme brulee stout french toast with orange maple syrup
Saturday~ Green chicken chili enchiladas with fennel, apple, and jicama slaw

Stay tuned for last minute changes, and recipes to follow!

Yours in food

Well, Hello!

My first new shiny post on my new blog all about food!  If you want to get a little crafty, or need a laugh, you can check me out here~

This blog is about my culinary adventures and mishaps, recipes and trials, as I hone my skills and explore what sounds delicious.

The blog is named after one of my favorite combinations~ blackberry and sage ~ both are rich, earthy, and remind me of fall, my favorite season.

I hope you enjoy the recipes, and the culinary adventures here. Please feel free to comment, take the recipes and make them your own!