I found a new cooking pal this week Tiffani Thiessen, on the Cooking Channel’s “Dinner at Tiffani’s”, her new show. You probably remember her from the 90’s sitcom, Saved by the Bell. Well she is all grown up, married with a 5-year-old daughter and another one on the way. And she is gorgeous, as is her husband Brady Smith. She invites celebrity friends over for dinner and they catch up in the kitchen as friends do while cooking. Most of the cooking is done by Tiffani, but then it’s her show and she is the chef. And a pretty good chef at that. I did a little half-day “marathon” and watched all five episodes so far and cooked at least one recipe from each show, which is something I have not done before. But, you kinda feel you have to when you see her recipes and realize you can cook something great in a short period of time. Her food looks amazing and when she and her friends sit down to eat, you really, really, really wish you were there …
Fresh zucchini and snap peas become a quick vegetable medley when added with a dozen grape tomatoes. I had leftover uncooked vegetables, that each alone would not be enough as a side dish for 4 people, but when combined it was just right. The flavor combo worked well too – it had a slight Italian flair by adding the basil while cooking, and then removing from the dish – it was similar to adding basil oil, only subtler. This is a great dish to serve during the week as it takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish.
Fall has definitely arrived – although we were treated to sunny days this weekend, you could definitely feel the chill in the air. So Soup Season is here. I love homemade soups and this one is simple to make and ready to eat in under an hour. I use an immersion blender to finish this soup as I like small bits of the vegetables still in tact, and an immersion blender offers you more control on how smooth, or how chunky you want your soup, as opposed to a food processor. Me, I like it a smidge chunky!
I needed some comfort food on Monday night but was not in the mood to get too involved in cooking anything that took longer than … what, a few TV commercials? I fell back on my reliable go-to instant comfort food, Mushrooms on Toast. This is a pretty simple recipe, but still works its magic when needed. I try to mix up the variety of mushrooms in the recipe and I happened to have left over shiitake, button and baby bellos used in a mushroom tart on the weekend, so they became the mushrooms of choice. If I were being ambitious I would serve this with a small green salad and Green Goddess Dressing.
Not sure why Emma named these potatoes “boats” except that’s what my Mom always called them and this is her recipe. We had these long before potato wedges became popular and they are wonderful when served with chicken or meatloaf, but are good just all on their own. (Hint: if you are just eating the potatoes, serve them with mayonnaise or Aioli – they become gold at this point).
You gotta love the chemistry of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in just about any film they make (although Joe Versus the Volcano was kinda lame). While watching You’ve Got Mail this weekend I found I really liked the quick wit and banter between the two of them (the script was written by Nora Ephron, need I say more?). Sometimes it is just the way they say a line as in the “Happy Thanksgiving Back” scene where Kathleen (Meg’s character) is in the “cash only line” in the supermarket – makes me smile – here’s the clip: I’m confident that Kathleen was buying Brussels sprouts in that scene for Thanksgiving Dinner – maybe because I was flipping through my recipes and landed on Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts at that precise moment in the movie…at the cash register. Was this
Halloween was only last week and yet I have been inundated with ideas on what to serve at Thanksgiving in mail, magazines, reality TV, and of course blogs. OMG the pressure to find the perfect vegetable to serve! Okay, just kidding. No pressure here… but when I went to Whole Foods I found a heaping mass of pumpkins, gourds, and a variety of winter squashes, at which I stopped counting when I hit the number 14.
Lyonnaise Potatoes is a french dish of pan-fried potatoes, that originated around 1845 in the city of Lyon, which is located in a region called Rhone-Alpes in France. In French, a la lyonnaise means the dish contains onions – think I originally learned how to make this dish watching Julia Child on TV way back when. A lot of recipes suggest blanching or par-boiling the potatoes in advance of the pan-frying to help expedite the cooking of the potatoes. I eliminate that step as I think it makes the potatoes too soft or mushy, and I definitely like this dish to be crispy!
For some reason, Tuesday is the hardest day of the week for me to figure out what to have for dinner. Growing up, we ate the same food each weekday (Monday was meatloaf, Wednesday was lamb chops, Thursday was beef stew, Friday was spaghetti, and Tuesday was … Liver and Bacon. Now you know why I struggle to find something suitable for Tuesday. Although I hated liver as a child, I now find eating it a few times a year works for me (and always served with homemade onion rings) – but I will never again eat it 52 times a year. Lamb chops maybe…. Liver, no.
I realized yesterday morning that there were only 4 more weekends left to visit my local Farmers Market before closing for the season and not re-open till May. So it seemed logical to go check out the 85 vendors and see what they were hawking this weekend in terms of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and crafts. As I hadn’t been for a few weeks, I noticed lots of new items not featured earlier this summer, so I struggled to stay focused on the fruits and vegetables and not get caught up in all the colorful crafts that were displayed. In particular I found lovely artichokes, and the reddest of raspberries and ripe red pomegranates. You are likely thinking what do the three items have in common – well nothing, except all three were exceptional each in their own right. So I started with the artichokes using a recipe I adapted a few years ago from Biba Caggiano (From Biba’s Italian Kitchen). As to the raspberries and pomegranates, well….hmmm…