Thursday, January 31, 2013

Snowy Day in Kentucky

I am not bitter.  While my sister is off in sunny, warm San Francisco, I woke up to this.  Snow.  10º in the morning and a high of 16.  But I am not bitter at all......muttering under my breathe....

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Treatment

Will made himself dinner tonight: roasted winter vegetables and a pan-seared chicken breast.  Stirling came over and gave him "the treatment": her chin on his leg and a cold, hard stare enticing you to share your dinner, preferably the meat part. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Homeward Bound

I am off to Kentucky for about 10 days to help take care of Chloe Belle.  My parents and I are taking care of her while her parents and brother enjoy a little vacation to the West Coast.  After a cancelled flight on Monday because of fog, this morning's sky is blue and clear!  Louisville, Here I come!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Guard of Honor Lamb

I received a fabulous cook book for Christmas: 

Downton Abbey being shown currently in the US (Yes, I am watching the episodes again.  And Yes, I have already seen all the episodes, since I streamed it from England.  Remember the cornish pasties? or  the crumpets?), therefore it is appropriate to celebrate the return of the Crawleys with a recipe from Mrs. Patmore's kitchen. 

"Guard of Honor Lamb" is a regal dish and this recipe calls for two racks of lamb; I used just one.  When you have two, you can criss-cross the chops to look like crossed swords.  While the recipe calls for mint sauce, both Will and I don't like it so I didn't make it. 

First, I put minced garlic and shallots in olive oil in a heavy skillet, adding in rosemary and thyme as well as balsamic vinegar and Worchestershire sauce.  Once browned, I set aside to cool.

Next, I seared the lamb rack in the same skillet.  A bit tricky to get the sides and the underside seared.  To be honest, I probably didn't cook it long enough on every side as I had to add cook time when the rack went into the oven. 

With the browned garlic and spices, I added bread crumbs.  I slathered the rack of lamb with course Dijon mustard and then coated the sides with the bread crumb mixture. 

The rack of lamb went into my 450º preheated oven to roast for 18 minutes. 

Out came a beautiful encrusted rack of lamb fit to serve Her Majesty's soldiers.  I served it with with leeks and Brussels sprouts.  Delicious! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cat Spoon Rest

Another Christmas present I received from Sylvia was a beautiful cat spoon rest.  Sylvia used her silver saw to cut out the shape and draw free-hand the face and the tail.  The eyes are gilded with a bit of gold, but the sweetest part is the kitty's collar: It is all the hallmarks with the tag being the hallmark of the Diamond Jubilee.   It's absolutely perfect.  And it makes me smile whenever I see it as I am cooking.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Destruction in the Kitchen

We have Biscuit for the long weekend and I walked into the kitchen to discover that all of the stuffed toys we have had been torn apart and their stuffing spread all over the rug.  Stirling doesn't ever play with stuffed toys.  She prefers her chew-bone.  So, I have a feeling I know who the culprit is....

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Country Chicken

The Römpertopf breadmaker that my parents gave us for Christmas isn't just for bread.  You can make all sorts of things in it and so I decided to roast a chicken in mine-- what the pamphlet from the baker calls "country chicken".  You still have to sock the entire baker and lid for 15 minutes before cooking.

Once I had soaked the baker, I put a layer of chopped onions and garlic on the bottom.  Added my chicken (having put an onion into the bird), and poured about 1/4 stick of butter over the chicken.  I added salt, pepper, parsley, paprika, and herbs du Provence to the back of the bird and put the rest of the veggies on top: carrots, more onions, potatoes, red peppers, and radishes. 

The lid went on and into the oven it went at 450ºF for 80 minutes.  I walked away to do whatever else and didn't even check it until about 15 minutes were left.  I kept the lid on to keep the chicken juicy, but at this point, I could have poured off some of the gravy to make the bird a bit more crispy on the outside.

After 80 minutes, out came a beautifully roasted, juicy, flavorful chicken with perfectly roasted vegetables.  I realize that in doing this post, I have no photos of the bird outside of the baker. Once I pulled it out to crave, Will and I were too hungry to think about taking anymore photos.  But, let me tell you: the dinner was delicious.  I will say that the baker isn't the easiest to clean and I am hoping that it won't effect the taste of my bread, whenever I decide to make ciabatta again.  But the country chicken was very easy and very tasty with this and I will definitely use it again for roasting.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Homemade Italian Bread

Most people in DC know that there is a lack of good bakeries here. There are a few exceptions, but they don't make the European style bread: bread just using flour, yeast, salt, and water.

I have been making for a few years now bread based on Jim Leahy's book, "My Bread."  If you love crusty, delicious, homemade bread, You must get this book.

Making the bread is very easy and I have spoiled Will with constantly making the loaves.  For Christmas, Santa (or my mom, I am not sure who), gave me the Römertopf Italian Bread Baker and the Ciabatta Bread baker.  I have turned into a bread making machine.

I baked these Italian loaves the other day and current waiting on the 2nd rise to bake another set.  So so so good.   Seriously, get the book. And the bakers.  You will thank me for it later.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you and you and you!  May it be filled with new and exciting adventures.  We are starting off the new year with flower buds on our lemon tree.  It has never produced flowers before (and in face, there might have been the time when I neglected to water it and nearly killed it).  A birthday present for Will over 4 years again, the plant is finally going to give us lemons.

So, wishing you all a lovely lemon-filled (in a good way) 2013!