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by on November 26th, 2014

Shrimp, Mussels, Clams, and Linguini

A fond food memory of Italy.

 

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What is it about remembering names and other things, like where did I put my phone, give me such a problem sometimes and then on the other hand I can think of a dish I had someplace and remember all the circumstances surrounding it.

For instance, it has been about eight years since we went to Italy but I will not forget one rainy night in Chinque la Terra going to dinner at Ristorante Miky (pronounced  Mickey like my Michie). I started saving menus like my sister (she has some beautiful ones) and that rainy night there was one menu outside on a table and it was getting wet so I decided to rescue it from the rain and it now occupies a place along with my other menus. So I went back and took a look at the dish I had that night.

So, that rainy night the six of us were seated outside in a tented area and we had one of the nicest waiters and he talked us through everything on the menu and promised us a meal we would not soon forget. He even told us about his cousin who was a waiter over in Montecino and told us we should check out his restaurant while we were in that area the next week.

This was the first time I had ever had clams and mussels and I was a little hesitate in ordering it. It was delicious and will always be one of my fond food memories. I decided to add some shrimp to the dish the night I made this recipe.

I love looking back at old menus I have picked up during travels and recreating dishes that helped to make a great vacation. I have a journal full of great dinners from travels and love reading about what I thought of the meal.

When we were in Seattle for our anniversary trip back in August we had eaten so much fish in Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle that one night we just wanted some simple Italian food. I ended up ordering a dish similar to this Mussel, clams, linguine dish but it had the addition of tomatoes. So delicious and that brought up all the memories of our trip to Italy and the great food we had while there.

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by on November 21st, 2014

Roasted Beet Napoleons

Oh no, something red on the plate!

 

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Beautiful except for the fact that the beets bled into my goat cheese.

 

My husband always says he doesn’t like beets because he doesn’t like red food on his place. Ya know, he does eat tomatoes, salsa, pasta sauces, red peppers etc. So, why is it he says he doesn’t like beets. Could it be because he hasn’t tried MY beets. Other than pickled beets I have to say I was never a fan. Never cared for borsht soup or even harvest beets. I have to admit I never tried harvest beets because i thought they would be too sweet.

Back in the summer I did dehydrate some thinly sliced beets and sprinkled them with some Herbs de Provence and they were delicious; just ask my friend, Linda, who has a really funny story about the after effects of eating too many beets.

This is the time of the year that really nice beets should start appearing in the markets. I can’t wait for my farmer’s market to have them because they promised the candy striped ones too along with the orange and red ones.

I found a couple of beet napoleon recipes; one on Pinterest from fifteenspatulas.com and I think she had gotten the idea from Saveur magazine and then saw a similar one on Foodnetworks website. I like the idea of cutting in wedges if you have really big beets. On Food Network they cut in wedges and and put three of the wedges together, pointed sides out and filled with micro greens or salad. For my salad I tried both ways, one in wedges with just one to a plate and then one of the stacks on a plate sprinkled with some greens and pistachios.

My only recommendation would be to have everything ready early but put together right before serving. I had mine all ready the night before I took the picture and thought if I refrigerated them overnight then the cheese would set up; not thinking that the red beets were going to turn the cheese purple. Oh well, I learned a lesson and won’t make that mistake again.

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by on November 16th, 2014

Amalgamation Cake

Just in time for the holidays.

 

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The Purplish color comes from the blackberry jam.

 

Growing up I remember a special holiday cake my mother use to make and that was the Amalgamation Cake. I don’t know the history behind the recipe but according to Wikpedia, amalgamation is the process of combining or uniting multiple entities into one form.

Ok, that kind of describes this cake which is full of eggs, sugar, blackberry jam, raisins, nuts and coconut. What that description does not describe about this recipe is the love that my mother put into making it. Whether she was making this for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, she knew just the right time to start making it. Of course she always shelled her own pecans and after carefully measuring everything, mixing, baking, cooling then frosting with a delicious coconutty frosting she would wrap the cake in multiple layers of plastic wrap and then foil and then put into a closet to rest (or I suppose to ferment) until the big day which she would put it out just in time for dessert to be served. (Of course, this was Missouri so I’m sure the closets were a little cooler than here in Texas.)

This cake has a purplish color to it and is so rich and scrumptious that you only need a very thin piece to satisfy your sweet craving. I’m making this cake for our craft circle boutique and some lucky person will go home with a cake that they can put in the freezer until the holidays when they can pull it out and slice up for Christmas dinner.

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by on November 11th, 2014

Osso Buco

What a great Fall dinner.

 

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Are you ready to bid farewell to those long hot summer days?  Well, I am and there’s nothing nicer than a cool fall day to get me thinking about a more comforting menu to serve to a group of friends who love good food and love to cook.

Nothing screams a Fall recipe, to me, more than a piece of meat with a bone in the middle and that recipe would be Osso Buco. I love cooking any kind of meat with bones and these veal shanks had a small bone in the middle filled with bone marrow and once it was braised and fall off the bone tender, that same bone marrow was delicious smeared on a piece of crusty bread. I knew I wanted to do this recipe since it was the time of the year for our “Fall” dinner and we are even having some cool temperatures to cooperate for the evening.

The evening started with a fig appetizer which was a halved fig topped with shaved parmesan and wrapped in a strip of proscuitto and put in the oven long enough to crisp up the proscuitto and then a drizzle of my Fish Creek, Wisconsin balsamic vinegar (they were on Shark Tank last week), a cocktail which consisted of gin, prosecco, orange juice, rosemary and basil. Next up were plates topped with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and those topped with saucy veal shank pieces that, after hours of cooking, turned into the most wonderful savory dish.  Some sauteed haricot vert with peppers finished off the plate and of course some crusty bread to sop up all the juices from the veal and that delicious bone marrow.

We ended the meal with dessert which was this fantastic looking wine poached pear dessert with almond cream (will post soon) and some little wine jelly leaves for a garnish.

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by on November 6th, 2014

Raspberry Ciabatta Bread Pudding

Any bread pudding lovers out there?

 

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What better way to start Fall than with something to warm your tummy while you are sitting and watching what’s going on outside? Are you still having warm days as we are here in Texas or are you having some chill in the air and wanting a comforting dessert for the weekend. If you are having one of those days that you can’t get out of the house and you just happen to have some raspberries in the freezer (I have a freezer full) and some bread you threw in there for a rainy day, then you can whip up this dessert for supper.

Do you say supper? or dinner?. This dessert screams supper because I picture a dinner being something I have slaved over all day and supper is something I just throw together for the two of us. Unless of course it is our Sunday Night Suppers we do occasionally then I do like to go out of my comfort zone sometimes doing the menu of a couple of new things. This recipes falls into the supper (easy) category.

I have to honestly say I have never been a bread pudding lover until I made my Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce a few years ago and when I did it for a party, everyone loved it. So I’m venturing out again to try this Ciabatta Bread Pudding that I have added raspberries to; I think the raspberries will add some tartness to the dessert to balance the sweetness.

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