Posts tagged ‘weekend’
Valentines Day always tends to send the blogosphere into a tizzy with all things red, chocolate, heart-shaped, and/or shareable, and despite my irregular blogging habits over the last year or two, I seem to be no exception (see these Mexican Chocolate souffles for two or the little valentine cheesecakes for two– two surprisingly popular posts, mostly due to the for-two-factor!). This year, I was feeling a bit lazy about planning any sort of special dessert (especially because Stephen nearly always prefers chocolate chip cookies to anything else I might make), but then it occurred to me that one needn’t go dessert to get valentiney, and I had enough fun to want to blog about it! Valentines Day isn’t a particularly big deal around here, but we do like to try to do something involving cooking together, and this fits happily into that category.
I totally love soft pretzels, but most of the time I am far too lazy to make anything yeasted. Somehow, scaling the recipe back to just make a handful (well, a couple handfuls) of pretzels made it feel much more approachable, which was good because I decided to make these, dough-rising and all, at like 9:30 pm on a weeknight. It may have been a tad foolish given the timing (definitely not a bowl-to-belly in 30 minutes kind of snack), but it was surprisingly doable, and when we had the pretzels in hand it was all worth it. If you have some quick yeast (I didn’t), I bet you could shave the waiting down even more. Even with normal waiting time, I felt like the recipe made enough pretzels that my effort was justified, but not so many that I was shaping and poaching all night just to be left with a Super Bowl amount of snacks that we could never take down on our own. It made for a lovely Valentine preview snack!
Does blue cheese dressing merit its own post? Like, without an accompanying salad recipe? I wouldn’t have believed it but I’ve gotta say…yes, yes it does.
Unfortunately, I recently discovered that cheesecake is delicious. For ages I thought I didn’t like it, at least not enough to seek it out, and this helped me avoid the cheesecake-lust that I now imagine must torment cheesecake enthusiasts on a regular basis. But then I tasted an amazing one with a crumby crust and creamy, dreamy center topped with lemon curd, and I realized that me and cheesecake could be friends.
I have a lot I could say about the origins of this recipe and the importance of stuffing, but I’m going to cut to the chase first. For me, this is The Best Stuffing Ever. The only recipe I’ll need from now on. The One.
This stuffing strata comes out so fragrant, moist, and flavorful, you would never know it hasn’t been cooked inside the turkey. But the fact that it hasn’t set up camp in a turkey means that you can shorten your turkey cooking time, and serve the stuffing to vegetarians without that out-of-place taste of vegetable broth that usually flavors vegetarian stuffing. Also, it’s a total snap to whip up; you can assemble it the day before and just pop it into your already-350-degree oven on the big day. It features all the traditional flavors of a really homey stuffing (sage, thyme, celery, and of course the bread) bound together by a magical mixture of egg, milk, wine, mustard, and gruyere cheese. The strata gets moistness and richness from the egg mixture, but doesn’t turn out soggy or taste of breakfast; essentially, it tastes like everything stuffing should be, but more…better!
Alrightey, ya turkeys– I’m excited to finally start heading down Thanksgiving road! At this point I’m going to need to run down Thanksgiving road in order to share all the recipes we tried at our Fake Thanksgiving dinner before the real thing, but for now let’s just focus on first things first. The turkey!
If anyone is still out there, you may have noticed that I am going through a bit of a blogging dry-spell. I have not lost my enthusiasm for cooking or writing, I am simply having a bit of trouble getting adjusted to my new schedule of work, life, blogging, etc. and somewhere among all that I’ve found myself lacking in the motivation and momentum departments. That said, I’m excited to jump back on the right track in the coming weeks. I have a few latent recipes I’ve been hanging on to to share over the next week, and we will also be hosting a party this weekend that will involve me cooking tons and tons of autumn party/holiday food, which means you can look forward to a wealth of posts to come detailing the highlights and pitfalls of my second ever attempt at an enormous, coordinated dinner party of autumnal delights.
In the meantime, I’m going to post something a little different today. A couple of months ago, Stephen and I attended a cheese and beer pairing class, during which we ate our weights in cheese and consumed more beers than I can remember. What I took away from the class, apart from a happy stomachache and serious buzz, was that tasting parties are totally fun, and much more art than science. The main rule for determining good pairings? Taste the beer, taste the cheese, and if you like the combination, it’s a great pairing. It’s as simple as that, and it’s fun to do with friends (and much more low maintenance than hosting a regular dinner party). Put out some cheeses, put out some beers (or have people potluck it!), taste, and discuss. Everyone will leave happy, full, and buzzed, without you having to cook or bartend. To read more about it, continue on for some tips about cheese selection, beer selection, and ways to make the party more or less formal depending on your crowd!
Well, it’s been two weeks since the start of my preschool year, and my new routine seems to have thrown me off my blog-game just a lil bit. Please don’t check how long it’s been since my last post. The ironic thing is that we have kept up with the cooking and photographing and kitchen firsts over the last few weeks (in fact, we’ve been cooking a lot!), I’ve just let them lay dormant in the camera for far too long. But no more! With this post, I am hoping to jump back in to the swing of things. I’m positive that wrangling preschoolers, cooking, and blogging can co-exist!
Anyways, here’s a kitchen first I’ve been hanging on to for a little bit. Pastitsio turned out to be one of those multi-first meals, in that I’ve never had pastitsio before, we worked with lamb for the first time, and I grated fresh nutmeg for the first time (don’t ask me why I’ve never done this before– silly, huh?). Now that we’ve tried it, it seems to me that pastitsio is sort of like a fancy-fied, Greek-style hamburger helper (dare I call it lamb-burger helper?), but in a good way. Whatever you call it, pasta + cheese + tomatoey cream sauce + ground meat = one tasty homey meal, and all I can say is if actual hamburger helper was this satisfying I would be picking up some boxes and adding it to my dinner repertoire. This is definitely a good meal to warm you up on an autumn night.