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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Whirlwind

Three new restaurants in three days.  Company visiting for four days.  Tax day with the last contribution to a SIMPLE for about 10 employees arriving about 10 minutes before the cutoff time.  Perfect spring weather then a freeze warning.  A new computer for the family room that's almost ready to go.  A conference table computer that's on its way out.  All in all, it made for a wild week!


Saturday, as you'll recall, our dear friends Mary and Fred arrived for a visit.  Their daughter, Julie, was going to be in town to attend a conference and she was going to bring their grandson, Keaton.  You heard about Saturday evening's meal with Giada's asparagus soup.  We tried another new recipe that evening but I found it fussy to make and not my favorite way to eat asparagus so I'll not post it...


Sunday, we were lazy bums.  The intent was to get up in time to go have breakfast before they headed to the airport at 10:30 to pick up Julie and Keaton.  Not happening.  Connie and I headed to the office and they were off to the airport by the time we all got up and showered and turned into humans.  Connie needs coffee in the morning.  Just saying. 


That evening, dinner was at our house for the whole crew.  I'm totally crazy about my grandkids but have never been all that fond of other kids.  Never wanted any of my own and am so glad I didn't have any!  So, spending a bunch of time around Keaton wasn't something I was looking forward to.  Boy was I wrong.  That kid is one smart young man.  He's got great manners and a wonderful personality.  He and his mom were a total joy and delight to have at our home.  I just wish they lived closer so we could see them more!



(really and truly, Mary smiles a LOT - just not in these photos!)





I used my favorite pork marinade of 1/3 each spiced pear liqueur, brown sugar and Kikkoman teriyaki sauce for pork specials.  Those went with individual sweet potato gratins and Doris's green beans.  Those are the green beans that we had at Doris and Jeffrey's house and I thought about for four days after.  They were spectacular.


Doris' Green Beans




Ingredients:


 1 1/2 pounds haricots verts
1 1/2 T olive oil
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2" dice
3 T butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c pine nuts, toasted

Directions:

Lightly steam the haricot verts. 






You can use any slender green beans.  Take it from the voice of experience here... This doesn't taste nearly as good with big, clunky green beans.  Set the beans aside and prepar the toppinigs.  Saute the red bell peppers in the olive oil in a large skillet. 



When the peppers are just getting tender, add the butter and garlic.  Saute all of that for about a minute, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Finally, add the haricot verts and saute everything until the beans are heated through.  When I served this, I put the cooked beans on the plates then topped them with the pepper mixture followed by the toasted pine nuts.  It allowed for a more even distribution of the topping... 

adapted from Doris McKee, originally from Epicurious.com





Dessert was a new recipe.  I"ve talked a lot about what a wonderful baker my friend, Liz, is.  She wrote a post a bit ago about a favorite kidhood dessert she'd been unable to recreate to her satisfaction.  Then, she got a recipe from a friend and viola.  I'm here to tell you that if you love coconut, your eyes will roll back in your head.  I watched everyone else when they took their first bite of these fabulous bars.  Everyone leaned their head back and closed their eyes and went, "MMMMMMM."  This is my new favorite dessert.  And, it's easy.  It doesn't require measuring so many ounces of flour and mixing just until.  No, it prety much requires the dump it in method.  My kind of dessert to make and eat!  Please head over to Liz's blog to see a fantastic photo of these:  ThatSkinnyChickCanBake.


Liz's Mounds Bars




Ingredients:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), melted

1 can (14 ounces) Eagle Brand sweet and condensed milk

7 ounces coconut

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet because I prefer that to semi- sweet)

2 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces

1/2 cup cream


Directions:


Preheat your oven to 325F.  Mix the graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and butter.
Pat them in the bottom of an 8x8 cake pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Mix the coconut with the condensed milk.  Liz's recipe called for warming the condensed milk.  Due to no available burners on the stove I skipped this step...  Pour this mixture over the baked crust.  Bake for another 15 minutes.  While the bars cool, make the frosting.  Put the chocolate, butter and cream into a microwave safe bowl.  As I noted above, I used bittersweet chocolate not only because I prefer dark bittersweet chocolate to milk or semi-sweet, but because the real Mounds bars are covered with dark chocolate.  Microwave on low in 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds, until the chocolate is melted.  It'll look rather like a mell of a hess once it all melts.  Take the bowl out of the microwave and stir like crazy.  All of the sudden, you'll have this gorgeous ganache.  Pour that over the cooled bars and pop the pan into the refrigerator (if you've got a few hours until you serve them) or into the freezer (if you've only got an hour or so.)  Cut into squares and serve.  (And, hide some for yourself for later because you'll want some so badly!)

adapted from ThatSkinnyChickCanBake - Thank you Liz!

Our adventures will be continued...

2 comments:

Lizzy said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed your company, Kate! And Doris' green beans looks like a dish I'd make over and over. Your Mounds bars look perfect...I'm so glad I have a few left in the freezer. BTW, they taste fabulous frozen, too :)

Hope you're having a wonderful first post tax deadline weekend!

Jan said...

Hi Kate,
Greetings from NC. Look forward to trying your green bean recipe AND the Mound Bars very soon. Instead of going to the FoodNetwork, think I will just visit your blog in the future! Know you are enjoying your busy life and that is fantastic!