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Sherry

Side dish/ Vegetables

Smashed Brussel Sprouts with Pistachios

No chasing these little spheres around the plate!

Seems like Brussel sprouts have always gotten a bad rap in the green vegetable category.  Ever wonder why? Well, after some searching I found that it is in your DNA. Either you have the “sprout gene” (PTC) or you don’t. This gene comes in 2 forms – bitter and non-bitter tasting. If you are really interested in why you may be a BS hater, read on here.

The BS’s, for me, have become less bitter and I think that is the way I prepare them these days. A little sweetness from balsamic or adding dates or golden raisins can’t help to elevate this little vegetable to a better place in our vegetable choices. My mother never prepared Brussel sprouts and that’s probably because my dad didn’t like them and back then she cooked vegetables like cabbage and even green beans long past their “done” stage making things a drab color and mushy. In later years all of my mother’s and dad’s cooking changed and green beans were cooked to a vibrant green or cabbage not cooked to death. I personally like my cabbage cut into small pieces and sautéed very quick so it still has a little bite to it and the color resembles more of what it looked like when cut from the garden.

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Appetizers

Girl’s Trip Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie, Charcuterie, Charcuterie!

It’s been almost two years since we moved from The Woodlands to Round Top, Texas population 90. Not sure if that 90 includes us or not but we are here and enjoying all the activity that goes on in the area.

So, it was about time for a girl’s trip to happen and Waco was a good place to meet up for a weekend of fun and laughs with old friends from The Woodlands. I though, after watching numerous  You Tube videos on making charcuterie boards and seeing them on Instagram all the time that we needed to make one together; and our first night there would be a good way to relax. I gave everyone some links to watch on the making of charcuterie boards and then a list of things we all needed to bring and the rest is history. Of course, cocktails were involved — White Lady, French 75 and Chocolate Martinis along with some Fuzzy Navels and Pina Coladas.

Charcuterie (shar-KOO-ta-REE is a term that dates back as far as the 15th century and means products of a fancy pork butcher). A charcuterie basically refers to various meat products. In France you would probably have more meats, terrines, pates, gallotines, etc.  A cheese board refers to a selection of cheeses etc.  These days anything can be put on a charcuterie with meats, cheeses, sweets, jams, nuts, fruits all artfully arranged on a board to make a beautiful presentation for your guest.

My husband bought me this beautiful 18×20 walnut/resin (blue river running through it) from Woodlab.com and I couldn’t wait to use it. Maybe in the future I will use it for simpler things that are a lot less expensive than filling this board with meats, cheeses, nuts, jams/preserves, candy, breads/crackers, honeys and even some pate son Paul made for me. Hors d’Oeuvres have always been one of my favorite items to prepare especially for dinner guest.

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Entree/ Poultry

Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Yellow Rice

This recipe is a keeper!

When you look at this recipe and all the steps DO NOT, I repeat do not click “back” and leave page. This recipe is worth all the effort and a few steps could be don’t ahead.

My son, Scott, is always sending me new and different recipes he’s found. Sometimes I say no to brownies made with soy sauce or tahini cookies but this one was different and it turns out I had all the ingredients and we both ended up making it on the same night. See both our pictures below.

Other than cooking at the brewery, what else do I have to do with my time right now; so I’m up for a challenge for any recipe I come across that sounds interesting. If anyone is ever interested in learning how to make anything I’m in the mood to make just come on over and help me cook.

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Entree/ Fish/Seafood

Smoked Salmon Cakes

And…Red Pepper Sauce!

So, what does one do with a large package of smoked salmon that wasn’t eaten because of COVID. This was going to be on one of my appetizer trays for Christmas when all the kids were here but Covid happened and the week cut short and this package of salmon found itself thrown into the freezer.

We had plans to go to the movie the day I made this recipe and I knew we would eat ourselves sick on popcorn and by the time we got back I wouldn’t want to cook and a day’s diet of nothing but popcorn wouldn’t be that healthy. So, I got busy that morning and made my salmon cakes, my red pepper sauce and even made a Mardi Gras colored slaw for a side dish (since Mardi Gras was coming up). The slaw was beautiful, the cakes laid in the refrigerator just waiting to be cooked that night. Even if it was a late dinner, we had  a “proper” meal.

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Side dish

Eggplant, Potatoes and Peppers

Like eggplant? Try this recipe.

Several months ago our neighbor, Mark, gave me this eggplant from his garden and as usual when I see an eggplant I want to make eggplant parmesan. This time, however, I decided to try something different to go with some steelhead trout we were grilling for dinner.

Over the years I have bought several types of eggplants. The miniature ones I have used for my Baby Eggplant with Pine Nut Salsa which made a cute and tasty little appetizer or side dish. I’ve prepared the graffiti, globe, Japanese,  and white ones. I’ve cut very thin, fried and served with a drizzle of honey like we had in Spain, I’ve done stir fries with them, made caponata and of course eggplant parmesan. Aloo Baisan (eggplant and potato) is a recipe I posted by in 2012; this recipe is a different take on an eggplant/potato side dish.

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Entree/ Poultry

White Balsamic Chicken with Tarragon

Delicious recipe even with the rosemary substitute.

When I buy nice balsamic and olive oils from specialty stores I tend to hoard them. I will use them for salad dressings but don’t ever want to waste them on just any ordinary recipe I might be preparing.

So when I saw this White Balsamic Chicken Thigh recipe on milkstreet.com site I knew I was going to have to let go of some of my “stash” and give this recipe a try. I had no tarragon growing and if I did it would have been dead from one of our recent freezes we’ve had here in our little part of Texas. I don’t normally plant or even buy tarragon because I don’t care for the pungent, licorice-like taste. So, good thing I had some rosemary that survived the freeze and I used that as a substitute.

My HUB is always up to trying out new recipes. What choice does he have though; here in Round Top nothing is opened Monday-Wednesday anyway so anything i make on those days i have a captive audience with him for trying a new dish or two. He liked the results of this dish which I will be making again even though I will have to give up some of my precious white balsamic vinegar.

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Entree/ Legumes

Creamy White Beans with Herb Oil

Do I like beans or what? Another bean recipe.

There is nothing my comforting than a  bowl of beans no matter how they are prepared. Some cold winter night or even a rainy day this would be a super easy recipe to prepare for your family.

I happened upon this recipe on my New York Times Cooking app or New York Times cooking section; I don’t really remember other than it came from NYT — thanks anyway for the recipe.

This recipe could probably be made for less than $10 even if you had to buy the herbs to make the herb oil. Beans when combined with grains form a complete protein; see my White Beans and Sausage recipe – that dish would be a complete protein meal. Beans have no cholesterol, no saturated fat and lower in calories than most animal proteins.

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Entree/ Pasta

Orecchiette Snap Peas and Italian Sausage

What a combination of YUM!

I just say “little ears” because oh-reck-ee-ET-tay is a little hard say. So let’s cook some “little ears” pasta also know as Orecchiette. 

Orecchiette in Italian translates to “little ears”. It’s a small, ear-shaped pasta that originated in southern Italy and it’s the perfect pasta to pair with rich creamy sauces because the little bowl shaped pastas hold all your yummy sauce.

A few weeks ago I was laying under a machine for an hour and half looking at the ceiling while having a HIAD test (gallbladder). Anyway, I’m thinking about this post and what I was going to write about and all these visions of pasta came to mind. Remember Lady and The Tramp movie where the little dogs are sucking the spaghetti and end up at the same end of the noodle and “kiss”. Don’t ask me why that was the first thing I thought of; but then I’m thinking of canned spaghetti “o’s” my kids use to eat when they were younger. Can’t believe I fed that to them.  

I have brought back different shapes and colors of pasta from just about every trip we have taken. I packed Italian pastas in my suitcase, chocolate pasta from Pikes Market in Seattle, little tiny squares of pasta for soup that I found in Canada and there is always a special pasta waiting for me in any little specialty shop I might go into.

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Entree/ Pork

White Beans, Rice and Sausage

No, not Red Beans and Rice but White Beans and Rice!

Red beans and rice fan? I like red beans and rice but think I like the white beans and rice with sausage even better. Although, cheese doesn’t really pair that well with white beans so I may keep them both on my menu list.

My sister and I, from almost the day we were married, use to write down our menus for the week. I would not vary from what I had planned for the week. If I said I was having pork lo mean on a Thursday then that’s what I prepared. These days, I still make out menus for the week but hardly ever do I stick to a schedule because it seems like most of the time we end up going out to eat and that is usually for Mexican food or to local JW Steakhouse for fish or chicken night. If I want something really good and different I’m going to make it myself at home.

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Side dish

Potatoes, Broccoli and Cheese

Potatoes, Broccoli and Cheese OH MY!

Who doesn’t love potatoes? Whether they are whipped (not really suppose to whip potatoes though), French Fried, American Fried, hashed, smashed, paved, loaded, twice baked or AuGratined (the list goes on and on and on) there is no wrong way to prepare a potato. I use to eat them raw with salt when I was a kid. Have not done that in at least 60 years. Not sure why not, just never took the time to single out a few freshly cut potato sticks and salt and crunch away for a pre-dinner snack.

Take a look when you have a minute or two at my “side dish” section of this blog at some of my favorite potato dishes.  I love my Potatoes Pave, beautiful to look at and fun to eat. One night I was looking for a side dish to go with some steelhead trout we were grilling; I should say GA was grilling. I’m not sure I could even light the grill or start the Kamado Joe smoker. I happened to have a bunch of potatoes left over from Christmas that weren’t used because our holiday was cut short (what a bummer), there was half a bag of broccoli left from a salad I had made on pizza night at the Brewery over Christmas and several packages of cheese that would eventually get used up. 

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Roasted Cabbage Steaks

New Year’s Cabbage, Pork, and Black-eyed Peas and Friends.

So It’s been 11 days since New Year’s Day and I’m still waiting for my good luck/money/prosperity. Well, it will come but I will have to wait awhile I guess.  

It’s been a busy few weeks with kids coming from Chicago and Austin for Christmas and all six little grandsons able to play together for first time in 2 years. And, a little covid to bring things to a close earlier than expected. But as I told our son, Scott, we at least got together for Christmas, had a great steak dinner for his Christmas Birthday, a fish fry and lots of new games we got to play. Things will get better and I’m looking forward to at least a couple of trips to Chicago this year. We also did a pizza night on Sunday after Christmas after the brewery closed. Paul made all the crust, I got together the toppings and GA grilled them on the Big Green Egg at the brewery.  

On top of holiday fun/blues/COVID, my Mac computer died and it had to live at Best Buy for a week just uploading all my thousands of pictures. So, blogging hasn’t been on top of my list of things to pick from everyday to keep me busy. Of course, I’ve been busy helping in the kitchen at the brewery and that is always fun to see what new menu items Paul is going to come up with for the weekend. This past week it was a country pate to go along with his chicken liver pate. They look and taste wonderful.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Roasted Rainbow Carrots and Green Beans

Love those rainbow vegetables!

Anytime I see any rainbow colored vegetables they end up in my shopping basket. The last time I was at Central Market I snatched up some rainbow radishes; shades of purple, pink, reds and whites (and even black) were just waiting for me when I cruised the produce section. These beautiful rainbow carrots yelled out at me while walking through Whole Foods in Austin one weekend when we were there visiting our daughter and her family. At the time, I did not have any idea for these other than slicing them up in a salad and how boring would that have been.

So Thanksgiving eve morning I’m cruising the internet and came across this beautiful recipe from grilledcheesesocial.com and knew MacKenzie Smith’s (2 time Food Network Champ)  recipe would be a hit at our Thanksgiving meal. Thank you MacKenzie for sharing this recipe. I will definitely be “lurking” your blog for more yummy ideas. (Note: it took my green beans forever to even get close to being tender and if I ever did these again I would probably blanch for 6-7 minutes before roasting.) Good dish but the green beans just tasted too undercooked. I decided that my green beans might have been about a week too old to use and I should have used fresher ones or even frozen.

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