Tastes Better When Someone Else Prepares and Serves

Classic winter lunch made and served by my daughter Laura. Hit the spot on a gray chilly day.

img_3117Cheddar and Monterey Jack on wheat was the grilled cheese. She used the stovetop cast iron grill I gave her for Christmas. (Which covers two burners)

When Your Neighbor Brings You Pancetta

When your neighbor brings you pounds of pancetta, what else can you do? (Thank you Joaquin.)

Find a recipe, quickly.

I read some eat pancetta raw but that turned me.

Next time I’ll slice it more thinly. First, I warmed the dish in the oven, cooked the cut up pancetta for about 8 minutes in my cast iron skillet and then drained it on paper towels. Tossed  the eggs, cheese, minced garlic cloves mixture  onto the hot drained spaghetti  in the warmed casserole   Freshly ground pepper. Rich and good. Next time I’ll hold off on salting the pasta water as the pancetta and cheese made it salty enough.  The recipe called for 1/2 cup white wine which I didn’t have on hand so poured a glass of red to accompany this perfect dish for a snowy day.

Spaghetti Carbonara  

There’s plenty of pancetta left for several meals if you have any suggestions.

Macarons – First Attempt

img_3045img_3047Macarons go for about $2.50 apiece at the French bakery. Martha Stewart said you could bake them at home for about 18 cents apiece.  My friend V did some quick calculations in my kitchen and seems it’s more like 50 cents each

I’ve watched a video several times, purchased the best ingredients, and splurged for a baking mat with perfect circles embossed in the material. (Not factoring the equipment into the cost.)

Here’s the result.  Some of the macarons seemed a bit chewy. Did I underbake  them? Was the humidity a factor? Did I whip the egg whites correctly? Did I fold the dry ingredients sufficiently? I let them sit before I put them into the oven. Perhaps I used too much batter on each circle as the seemed to puff up like white mushrooms.  I will watch another video I found The Science of Macarons. If you have made them before please share any tips.

I got the ganache right. Had to put it over hot water after awhile as it firmed up, though.

I found another recipe to try next batch.

 

 

Hopkins County Stew

My neighbor up the street made a vat of Hopkins County Chicken Stew.(recipe)

She served it at their New Year’s Eve Party Saturday night.

I sent a text to thank her for the nice time and she texted back and invited me to come up around 4, bring an empty container, fill up! I took up a quart jar but she had a couple of gallons.

Yum.

When I got there, I was in awe of the huge pot she made it in. She was in the midst of major clean up from the party.  Steve and I  ate the warm penne and sweet sausage she sent home along with some stew.  Thanks for sharing your leftovers.

I’d never even heard of Hopkins County Stew from Texas.

Turns out there’s a big festival in Sulphur Springs Texas  (the fourth Saturday of October) and here is an excerpt from their webpage

“The cooking competition began in 1969, but the roots of the dish date from the late 1800s, The county had approximately 100 schools back then and it became customary to celebrate the end of each school year with stew suppers that were cooked in iron pots over open hardwood fires. 

There were no recipes.  Families just brought what they had and threw it in the pot.  The meat most likely was squirrel, and typically the most dominant vegetables were potatoes, onions, corn and tomatoes.

There is still no authentic recipe for Hopkins County Stew.  For the annual cook-off, contestants may use chicken or beef (no squirrel) and there are separate prizes for the best stew with each meat.”

Here is another link to a recipe   I will have to ask Susanne which one she used.  The ones listed above (potatoes, onions, corn and tomatoes) are still the dominant ingredients.

 

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The Return of the Quilted Mug Rug

Five years ago I received unexpected mail from quilter Colleen. Today I found it in my cloth napkin basket and pulled it out to set my hot lemonade and honey mug on top. Feeling festive! Added a couple of Nurnberger Lebkuchen. A hot drink helps when the temperature drops to single digits.

Thanks Colleen.

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Slow Cooker’s Opposite? Instant Pot

My DIL introduced me to her Instant Pot last night. Says they’re really the latest trend.

I’d never heard of it.

An extreme pressure cooker which lets off lots of steam when finished.

She threw 3 ingredients in the pot and six minutes later it was complete. Even the dried penne and FROZEN meatballs.

They returned from swim practice and I’ve been here when the family is eating really late cause they get home and have to make dinner. Not last night.  We were dining at 7:30 which was like a magic trick!

There’s a porridge setting and you can make yogurt or a cheesecake

or homemade ricotta. Thousands of people have joined an Instant pot group

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Check out Elizabeth’s  blog for more recipes and information Pressure Cooker Pros

and her homepage