What’s cookin’ this weekend???
March 25, 2011

Hello, lover....what's cookin'?

Ok, it’s not gonna be a spring weekend…so let’s just get the thoughts of something super-springy on the menu right out of your mind. With snow in the forecast..alas…it’s a weekend for something a bit heartier. So I modestly offer what I had last weekend…a perfectly braised and roasted chicken, surrounded by vegetables and pancetta. Super-easy, super-delish. here we go.

Love the witty Joseph Joseph glass cutting board...

First, quarter some new potatoes…..any taters will do, but red ones do add a dollop of color. And the toughened glass cutting board is from Joseph Joseph…it’s the queen made from vegetables, and I love it. They have all kinds of witty ones, including Elvis made from veges.(Update: just heard from a reader, Jamie, that glass cutting boards dull your knives pretty quickly…and when I googled it, found he was absolutely right…see this post on things that dull your knives! I’ll save the glass cutting board for serving something…maybe cheeses, or crudite?) Darn it, it’s still cute.

Onyums...

Then some onions….I think I cut these too small….quartered onions would be more substantial at serving time. My bad.

Carrots, and some chopped pancetta...

Add some carrots….and don’t be stingy, I feel like I never do enough carrots! Teh chopped pancetta I get from Trader Joe’s, already in this perfect little dice. I keep some in the freezer, for all kinds of dishes…adds a lovely flavor(duh, it’s Italian bacon). Here it is, ready for the oven after I added some garlic cloves, wine in the bottom, salt and pepper, and some Provencal herbs.  I covered it and cooked it for two hours at 325 degrees, then removed the top and upped the temp to 400 for another 30 minutes or until browned on top. Get some crusty bread and dinner is ready! Get crazy and invite your neighbors over for dinner….a new study out this week said that social connections…make you lots happier than money(ok, not happier, but as happy)….and when your friends get there, give them a glass of wine, don’t throw rocks or talk politics, and wherever you go, come home safe…’cause we miss you!

Some lamb dreams were never meant to be….
October 29, 2010

Me, after peering into my slow cooker...

Ok, you know how I was all about the lamb in the crockpot yesterday…how fab it was gonna be…how smart am I, blah, blah, blah? Here’s the thing…when I arrived home yesterday, I put the mail down on the table, brought in a box that had been left on the front porch(hello Rue La La…no, not something for me…ties for xmas presents, so there)….and went straight into the kitchen. I have been oddly starving lately…seriously…I wonder what’s up, I’m just really hongry. (Hongry is one notch above hungry, fyi)..and nothing. No fragrant smell of lamb and garlic, no gentle steam coming from the crockpot…just a cold hunk of raw lamb sitting in some chicken broth and soy sauce. Aghast(really, I was horrified), I realized I had plugged the slow cooker into an outlet….that’s right, that doesn’t work. Why? WHY?

SO, dinner consisted of some skillet sautéed Andouille sausage, some leftover sweet potatoes and I steamed some brocoli. Not terrible, but it was a bitter disappointment, let me tell you. I plugged the cooker into an outlet that actually has electricity and let it simmer away the rest of the evening. Should be great this weekend, but still. Still.

I like this distressed black.....

What’s up for Halloween weekend? Tomorrow morning  I head off to visit a kitchen designer(I told you I’m knocking out part of a wall…and kinda redoing some things…not a MAJOR$$$ thing…though anytime you start kitchen stuff, you better be ready to ante up some dollah bills, ya’ll.

I hope you don’t gasp at the black cabinets…..I know lots of people love white cabinets and light cabinets and dark granite  in their kitchens and it is a pretty combo…but  somehow I really like the dark distressed cabinetry with a lighter colored countertop.

Pretty with dark cabinets???

 I’ve considered concrete countertops….I love the look, but in the end it may cost more than I want to spend and I’m really not sure about the upkeep. Probably I’ll end up with the ubiquitous granite, just like everyone else in the world.Thoughts, ideas, concerns??? Anyone have concrete and love it??

Yep, all stocked up....with my favs....

On Halloween proper…no, I do not dress up…nor do I go out(somebody has to guard the homestead)….But we are having lunch with friends down the street that day(hopefully no noon time trick or treaters?)….and then dinner at home(leftover crock pot lamb anyone?).

Someone asked if I get many trick or treaters. You know, it depends. Some years we have a lot, and last year, none at all…which meant a lot of fun size Reese’s Cups for Donna to eat. It must be said though, our house is a bit of a climb up steps….and sometimes I think groups see easier pickings just down the street and say, “Oh, to heck with them and their steps…let’s move on.” But it feels a little sad when I have no little monsters at all…like somehow the holiday is changing . I hope that’s not true. And if you do come to my house…I am stocked with more Reese’s!! Have a great Halloween, cook something nice and slow for dinner this weekend, be nice to each other and don’t throw rocks….oh, and come home safe, ’cause we miss you.

Low Country Sweets Time!
June 4, 2010

You know what this means....weekend dirt digging...

Photographer Chuck Cochran and I were shooting a story at the new Giant in Timonium, across the street from the Maryland State Fairgrounds….let me say I am obsessed with that store. It is new and gorgeous, with the most amazing array of foods and produce. But as we were leaving the parking lot…across the street in at the fairgrounds was a plant stand with a flower sale….hello, lover. I persuaded Chuck to do what is called in our biz a “swing-by”. Reporters and photogs are often called out in the field by the assignment desk(their thankless job is to get everything for everybody with a finite supply of people to get it with), and told, “Hey, swing by Dundalk and get some pictures of the corner of blabity blah“, or “Hey, can you swing by city hall and get some sound from Councilman Marmaduke?”  No matter that you are no where near where that is….that’s a swing-by.  So Chuck and I did an actually convenient swingby at the plant stand where I nabbed a flat of one the happiest flowers on earth….pink zinnias. And yes, that means planting this weekend, in a bed that’s been staring at me forlornly for a few weeks….”When do we get our flowers?” Soon come, man… soon come.

Best onions ever....

Oh, I got an email today from Richard Kline in South Carolina, saying “Yep….the colossal sweet onions have been harvested and they are ready to ship….do you want any?” Please… of course I want some.  These were truly the biggest, sweetest onions I’d ever had, and that 20 pound box lasted me for a couple of months in the frig. Grill them, cook with them, put them in salads, or make huge fried onion rings….yummy.

That's a whole lot of onions behind him....

Low Country Sweet Onion Company says don’t be fooled by other places that claim to be selling them…that the only way you can buy them is at their website(here’s a link). Here’s what they say about their onions…”Our Yellow Sweet onion is a privately owned brand that is grown in specific soil by one farmer on a very small plot and in a particular weather region an hour out of Charleston.”  So there you have it.  What’s a typical time shipment frame?  Picking Wednesday am, cleaned and boxed, UPS arrives at 3 PM..the onions arrive at their destination Friday by 2 PM. So I’ve placed my order and can’t wait to try some great new onion recipes…like an onion tart. I’ll blog the results, ok? In the meantime, it’s Friday people….so don’t throw rocks, do something unexpectedly nice for someone, and take some time to relax…I am…right after I plant those smiling zinnias.