Archive for December, 2007


Sabbath Menu for 12.30.07

While the chicken roasted, we ate some New Zealand Sharp Cheddar, Brie, Smoked Jack with butter crackers. Raspberries and Blueberries. We also dipped baguette into oil and vinegar dressing. We offered a Pinot Noir, a winter beer and, of course, blessed water.

    Our main dish was the Fantastic Roast Chicken except this time, I cubed up some golden potatoes and coated them with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper and put them in my pan around the chicken. Then I drizzled the entire dish with honey and covered with bacon strips. Served with 3 Blind Moose Chardonnay.

    We ate Cheesy Peas for our veggies. Ophelia liked them and I heard no complains otherwise. I thought they were pretty tasty. The lemon helped them not taste too peasy.

      For dessert we had Chocolate Pots topped with whipped cream, raspberries and blueberries. It wasn’t as rich as my Bitter Chocolate Mousse, which I appreciated after such a rich meal. We served it with Ballatore Spumante, Coffee or Brandy.

        It wasn’t too difficult, because I was able to prepare the chicken the night before and just stick it in the oven when we got home from church. The dessert was easily made on Saturday and tasted great on Sunday. I would have taken pictures, but I was having so much fun fellowshipping that I forgot! I saved all the dressing and the carcass from the chicken, does anyone have good ideas on how to use it to make stock?


        hot chocolate shortcut

        With the arrival of my new milk frother (can you tell I love this thing?), my quest for the perfect cup of hot yumminess has been renewed. I followed the recipe for hot chocolate in one of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks which was pretty similar to Abra’s, but I paid close attention to the type of chocolate I used. I used about a quarter cup of shaved semi-sweet baking chocolate (the kind you buy in chunks at the store), and a piece of Ghirardelli milk chocolate that I’d chopped up. I must say, it was quite good. I’m a huge dark chocolate fan (the darker the better!!!), so if you’re a little skittish around the darker stuff, I’d suggest giving it more milk chocolate (you can buy chunks of the milk chocolate at the store too that would shave well). From what I understand, the chunks for baking have less wax in them than chocolate chips do, so that is one of the things that makes them better (who really wants to drink hot wax?!). My shortcut here is to shave up whole chunks at a time, and then keep it in a ziploc baggie in the fridge. I know it’s not a great shortcut, but it certainly makes it easier to enjoy a good cup of steaming chocolatiness whenever you want!


        cheese straws

        This recipe is straight out of the Barefoot in Paris cookbook that I’ve mentioned earlier. I’ve made these fantastic little babies twice now and people seem to enjoy them, and they’re quite easy to make. You can make them a few hours ahead of time too and they’re still tasty, which is always a plus in my book since I tend to gravitate toward the things that have to be served right out of the oven!

        Cheese Straws

        2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry (such as Pepperidge Farm), defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
        1 extra-large egg
        1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
        1 cup finely grated Gruyère cheese
        1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves (or dried thyme works well enough)
        1 teaspoon kosher salt
        Freshly ground black pepper


        Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

        Roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board until it’s 10 3 12 inches. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the surface of the pastry. Sprinkle each sheet evenly with 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and some pepper. With the rolling pin, lightly press the flavorings into the puff pastry. Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife or pizza wheel (I actually like to use my zig-zag edge ravioli cutter) into 11 or 12 strips. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.


        Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake for another 2 minutes. Don’t overbake or the cheese will burn. Cool and serve at room temperature.


        creative fingers

        There’s nothing like a toddler with a box of markers to remind you how much fun it is to color!


        white christmas

        It’s not much of a post, but I wanted to wish you all a very merry Boxing Day and say that I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas yesterday. For those of you in the warmer regions of the world, I offer this picture of a White Christmas. We got about 4″ here last night, and it is supposed to keep on coming! Nothing like sitting down with a good cup of coffee (with a good dosing of foam, thanks to the little milk frother my husband had under the tree for me!), looking out at the snow falling.

        In the next few days I’ll post some recipes and pictures of our Christmas treats! Have fun searching for those after Christmas bargains!


        monday ornaments :: take 5 ::

        Here is my last installment in the monday ornaments series. This little guy is one of my German ornaments, and I picked him up when I visited 5 years ago. I think the colors and detail are what bump this one to the top of my list. Merry Christmas Eve!


        Crab Bisque Part Two

        Today I made this crab bisque recipe. I decided since A) fresh crab meat isn’t readily available in North Idaho and B) I love chunky soups, that I’d make a few revisions. For starters, I pan fried a couple of thick slices of bacon in a pan with a bunch of quartered button mushrooms and a good cup of sherry. After the mushrooms appeared to be steeped in bacony and sherriful goodness, I popped them into my boiling soup (right before I added the crab.) Then I finished frying the bacon, chopped it and added it to the soup, as well. I also used two large handfuls of Italian parsley, chopped and added directly into the soup at the same time I added the chicken stock. If you are using canned crab (as I was) you may find it necessary to add more salt and more sherry to the finished product. Last year I found it 10 times more flavorful after being chilled, so I thought making it today and freezing it wouldn’t be a bad idea. I’ll just pop it into a slow cooker to heat it through on Christmas day. I think it might be time to introduce O to shell fish! Yum!