Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pesto Tomato Pizza and White Bean Dip

I have yet again another new cookbook.  And, I've not even finished reading the ones I bought a couple of weeks ago.  The new one is courtesy of Jolene Ketzenberger.  She's the owner and editor of and used to be the food writer at our local paper.  In years gone by, she did a Christmas cookie contest.  Like most things fun, the Star has discontinued that.  Just another reason I prefer the New York Times these days!  At any rate, Jolene's hubby John persuaded her to put together a last minute cookie contest at a local Brewery.  It's called Bent Rail.  The noise in there was deafening.  But, the food was incredible.  We'll head that way for dinner and make sure we get there and are gone by the time the band starts!!!  Let me note here... I am NOT a baker.  Used to bake 4,000 cookies and deliver plates of them to all of my clients.  No more.  I really avoid baking.  But, because Jolene wanted to do the contest, I entered.  Whiskey shortbread cookies.  They were good but not fabulous.  Nothing I'll make again.  But, since everyone who entered got to choose a cookbook, I was a happy camper.  That and I got to talk with some other foodies.  Carolyn, this is directed at you - time to start your own blog!  Seriously Simple Holidays is the cookbook I chose.  Can't wait to dig into this one.  Just in time for the holidays too.  Chicken paillards with cranberry port sauce.  Doesn't that sound amazing?  I know there will be a dozen recipes that we'll love.

So, back to the other new cookbooks I bought.  I had to go to the Christmas Tree Shop for bows for the window boxes.  Stop.  I wanted to go.  Needs versus wants.  I'm constantly reminding my clients of the difference...  Bows on window boxes are a want.  So are new cookbooks.  Or, in my case an obsession.  One that Connie happily tolerates because he gets lots of fun food.  The first cookbook I read was Small Plates by Williams Sonoma.  They actually have a lot of very good cookbooks.  This is my 5th or 6th and I've enjoyed all of them.  In addition to a recipe for scallops over a salsa of avocado and mango that's on the menu for New Years Eve, I had my eye on a pesto, tomato and mozzarella pizza.  In the fall we always turn the last of the basil into pesto.  Then, before the cheese is added in, it's frozen.  So, I have about a dozen 1/2 cup containers of frozen almost pesto.  Makes us think of summer when we eat it.  I wanted a meal that was quick, quick, quick.  We'd spent most of Sunday at the office.  Something about our admin being out thanks to her knee being replaced.  But, you've heard that story.  We're still doing double duty.  And, I had cookies to bake.  And, and, and.  Just not a lot of time to cook.  I'd had Connie buy a Boboli crust at the grocery so I was ready.  And, it was the perfect evening.  Nuke the pesto to thaw it.  Stir in some grated parmesan romano.  Schmear it on the crust.  Cut grape tomatoes in half and cover the pesto.  Thinly slice the fresh mozzarella and layer it over the top.  Bake at 450 for 15 minutes and we were good to go.

What did we think?  There almost weren't leftovers.  This was amazing.  My prep time was about 10 minutes.  Cooking time was 15.  And, we had a dinner that tasted much fancier than that.  Here's what the process looks like:

Our second recipe from the cookbook was equally successful.  White bean dip.  It's similar to ones we've made before but with bits of crunchy sage and prosciutto, it's just a step ahead of the generic white bean dip...

White Bean Dip


2 T olive oil
1 oz prosciutto (I used two ounces,) finely diced
6 fresh sage leaves, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 15 1/2 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 shallot, finely minced
2 t lemon juice
salt and pepper


Heat 1 t of the olive oil to shimmering in a small skillet.  Add the prosciutto, sage, shallot and garlic.  Saute until the prosciutto and sage are a bit crispy.  In a food processor, whir the beans with the other tablespoon of olive oil and the lemon juice.  Pour the beans into a small bowl and add the sautéed ingredients.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve with thinly sliced baguette, pita chips or crackers.

Adapted from Williams Sonoma Small Plates

As I type this it's Christmas Eve Eve.  Last weekend our oldest son David, his wife Kara and our grandkids, Bradley and Rosie came over to visit.  We started with Mary Poppins at Civic Theatre.  They totally hit it out of the park with that show.  I have to give kudos to a long-time friend of mine, Don Knebel, for what he's doing there.  After a long career as an attorney, he retired to spend time working with the Institute for Civic Literacy at IUPUI.  But, Civic came calling and he answered the call.  This show was so well done.  I've been singing Let's Go Fly a Kite all week!!!  Here's Rosie meeting Mary Poppins:

After Mary Poppins we headed home for ham, mac and cheese and an autumn salad with apples, sugared almonds and blue cheese.  Dessert was a decadent ice cream pie.  With bacon caramel sauce, Heath bars and honey roasted peanuts.  Makes my teeth ache just thinking about it.  But, it was fabulous!
Then, we opened presents.  The hit of the year was toolboxes.  We were a bit hesitant to get the kids their own tool boxes but I do believe Mama has a grand idea.  She's going to go to Lowe's and get some lumber and set it up in the garage so they can practice.  Here's Bradley showing his off and Grampy showing Rosie how everything works:


Wednesday, December 9, 2015


With a bunch of busy ladies, there's always bound to be a glitch.  It's not if, it's when.  So, our friend Stacy has been on the receiving end more than once.  And, as Stacy always is, she's been incredibly gracious.  THANK YOU STACY!!!  So, as you may have guessed, Stacy is this month's Blogger C.L.U.E. orphan.  When I found out, I jumped at the opportunity to once again make something from her blog.  The fact that I love her blog is no surprise to anyone, I'm sure.  I've prattled on about her muffins and loads of other yummy dishes. 

This month our word was celebration.  Now, even though you may not think of this dish as celebratory, I do.  Why?  Well, we've had a bit of challenge in our lives recently.  And, spending an evening home with just my hubby is reason for celebration.  And, this is exactly the kind of comfort food with which we love to celebrate those wonderful evenings home.

Tartiflette.  Stacy made this in honor of her time in France and in remembrance of those murdered in the terrorist shootings.  She picked such a quintessentially French dish.  And, strangely enough, one I'd never heard of.  Now, we make an amazing dish that's layered potatoes, cabbage, bacon and cheese.  Here's the link to that:   Bacon Cabbage Potato Torte.  This is similar but different.  Brie cheese versus extra sharp cheddar.  Onions versus cabbage.  One layer of potatoes versus three. 

We got home from yet another wild day at the office.  Seven appointments today.  Six each of the next two days.  Missing our right hand woman who's out for a couple of months getting her knee replaced.  Dealing with major changes to Social Security that'll cause us to have to redo a couple hundred plans.  Dealing with several clients who've been offered early retirements.  Taking over the care of some relatives who have had a rough row to hoe thanks to another relative taking advantage of them.  Yeah, you might say I am looking forward to a nap on Christmas day!!!  Because that will be my only opportunity and it will happen.  I had a list.  Prep for a dinner party on Friday.  Make and freeze chicken green bean casseroles.  Make Giada's Asian chicken salad for lunches tomorrow and Friday.  De-fat then freeze the chicken stock I made on Sunday.  Finish cleaning up the kitchen after Monday's dinner party.  I'd pretty much decided it was a pizza kind of an evening.  Then, I found out Stacy was orphaned.  And, I added to my list.  Tartiflette.  Doesn't the name just make you smile?  Me too.  So, as I was doing everything else, I halved some potatoes and tossed them in boiling water.  Bacon got chunked up and tossed in a big skillet.  Then, the bacon got drained and onions went into the skillet.  Once those were happy, white wine got added.  Then, when the white wine had cooked in, half the onions got pulled out and half the bacon added back in.  The drained and sliced potatoes were added topped with the balance of the onions and the bacon.  Then, on top of that a veritable bounty of brie cheese.  The huge wheel I'd bought for one of the Christmas Eve appetizers.  Enough that both Connie and I looked at all of that cheese and said maybe, just maybe that was over the top.  It was indeed.  But, it was so daggone good that I'd do it again tomorrow.  Then, everything got put in the oven for thirty minutes.  So the cheese could melt into the potatoes and bacon and onion.  So it would get ooey, gooey wonderful!!! 

Here's the link to the recipe on Stacy's blog:  Tartiflette.  While you're there, please take a look around.  Stacy really has some of the best food around.  I ALWAYS find something I love on her blog.  But, I do think this one takes the cake!  Thanks Stacy!!!

Here are the dishes from my other Blogger CLUE friends:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Henri's TasTee Dressing Clone

Some things are just plain meant to be.  This month for Blogger C.L.U.E. Society I was assigned A Palatable Pastime.  Unlike a lot of the bloggers in the group, I've not been well acquainted with Sue's blog.  So, it was a lot of fun to get to stalk her and figure out what'd go best with CELEBRATE!  Yes, the theme of our December posts is celebrate.  That left out SO many fabulous posts.   Baked Apple French Toast, Mediterranean Chickpea Salad (sounds healthy!) Candied Walnut and Grape Salad, Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs...  Yes, several of these will find their way to our table when we're once again home often enough to really cook.  For now, we're into the easiest things we can figure out that don't involve calling Donatos...

We've had pretty much the perfect storm at the office.  First and foremost, our right hand assistant, Teresa is out thanks to a knee replacement.  That's about 24 hours a week that we've had to take back.  Into a week that stretches to seven days of work anyway.  Then, there's the fact that Social Security changed the rules of the road and I'm having to work my way back through a couple hundred plans.  Add in the fact that we've taken over the care for my aunt and uncle (ages 85 and 97.)  And, several dinner parties.  Including the entire Girls Night Out crew and their hubbys or significant others.  And, Christmas Eve for my family.  And, about 26 hours of continuing education that needs to be done by year end.  And, and, and.  I'm overwhelmed.  So, quite honestly, the idea of a major celebratory dinner was out of the question.  I was looking for something that was easy, a bit decadent, a bit festive and that would be wonderful while we decorate for Christmas.  Smoked salmon dip.  Perfect.  But, I didn't quit reading.  Then, I found homemade Henri's TasTee Dressing.  Did that ever bring back memories. 

Way back in the mid 70's I was a management trainee at Lincoln National Bank in Fort Wayne, IN.  Every year there was a gift exchange and pitch-in.  Marcie, the president's assistant, brought a dip that I absolutely swooned over.  I still have the recipe card where I wrote the recipe.  And, I still make it for parties when I can.  Oh, you know, here's the gift I got at that exchange.  It's sitting on the shelf right above the computer monitor where I'm typing this post.  The little blue and white china box. 

And, it still makes me smile to think of the good times I had back there.  Now, what I've not said is that Marcie's Dip calls for Henri's TasTee Dressing.  We can't always find it.  Needless to say I'm one unhappy camper when I can't find my Henri's.  Now, I don't have to.  I have Sue's re-creation.  Oh, yes. 

So, I made the dressing but I used it as a salad dressing since I didn't have the Buddig Chipped Beef to make the dip.  You see, I'd bought all the ingredients for the smoked salmon dip.  Now, typically I'd give you a link to the recipe on the blog but I can't find it again...  I've looked thru Sue's index and it's not listed that I can see...  So, thank goodness I printed it out!!!

Henri's TasTee Dressing Clone Ingredients

1 c sugar
1 T celery seed
1 t salt
1/4 t ground white pepper
1/4 c onion powder
1 1/2 t dry mustard
1 t turmeric
1/4 c vinegar
1-2 c mayonnaise

Whisk it all together.  This makes a fabulous coleslaw dressing.  Or, salad dressing.  Or smoosh it with 8 oz of cream cheese, a bag of Buddig chipped beef (finely diced,) some pickle relish and a bit of mustard and you've got a great dip!

So, with many thanks to Sue, I can now recreate one of my favorite dips whenever I want!!!  Here's a list of my friends from Blogger C.L.U.E. Society who also have some fabulous celebratory recipes!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Scotch Dinner

We are blessed with some of the most wonderful friends.  And, once in a while we get to celebrate something really fun with some of them.  Like Mark's retirement.  Time for Scotch and dinner. 

And, you can see our furry kids really wanted to join us.  But, they know better than to come in a room where humans are eating...

Dinner was to be pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon and served with a bourbon glaze, sweet potatoes and cauliflower gratin.  Except that Connie and I didn't communicate well.  He thought I had a pork tenderloin thawed so he put the ones from the grocery into the freezer.  Then, thanks to a big project at our office that HAD to be finished, he got to the house well after we'd started the other dishes.  There was simply no time for thawing pork tenderloins.  Thank goodness for buying and freezing chicken thighs.  Those are easy to thaw.  Not quite as easy to wrap with bacon, but easier to thaw :-)  Since we were celebrating Mark's retirement with a really nice bottle of Scotch, my intent was to use Scotch (our regular brand, not the really good stuff) in the glaze.  The recipe below reflects the way I actually made the dish.  Which turned out to be a fabulous dish in spite of the substitution.  And, in spite of the fact that the bacon simply wouldn't stay on the chicken...

I wanted to do something with cranberries and apples for the sweet potatoes.  A hunt through recipes I've saved didn't bring up anything I wanted to make.  But, there was a recipe on that I could use as inspiration.  The cauliflower gratin was a recipe that I'd clipped from a magazine and tucked into an envelope of recipes to try soon.  Eons ago.  I have NO clue which magazine it came from.  I do wish they'd identify their recipes at the end of each because I really try hard to give credit as credit is due...  I'm assuming the bacon wrapped pork tenderloin/chicken is from Midwest Living.  It's credited to Chef Beth Murphy, Old Town Ale House. 

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs with Scotch Glaze


4 chicken thighs (I'd recommend removing the skin)
8 strips thick cut bacon
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1 t Chinese five spice powder
1/2 c Scotch (we use Dewar's)


Preheat your oven to 350. Par cook the bacon in an oven proof skillet just until it starts to brown.  Leave the bacon fat in the skillet.  Wrap the chicken thighs with the bacon and secure it with tooth picks.  Mix the brown sugar and Chinese five spice.  Pat the chicken thighs with the brown sugar mix.  Saute in the bacon fat until the bacon is browned.  Remove the skillet to the oven until the chicken is cooked through.

adapted from Chef Beth Murphy

Cauliflower Gratin with Almond Crust


1/4 c butter
1 head cauliflower, separated into florets
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T flour
2 t chopped fresh thyme
1/2 t salt
1/2 c whipping cream
1 c grated Gruyere cheese
2/3 c panko
1/4 c sliced almonds
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese


In a large skillet, melt the butter.  Add the cauliflower and onion.  Saute for about 8 minutes, then add the garlic.  Stir in the flour, thyme and salt.  Then, once the cauliflower is thoroughly coated with the flour, pour the mix into a greased casserole.  Drizzle it with the cream.  Then, top it with the Gruyere, followed by the panko, then the almonds then the Parmesan.  Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole with Cranberry Relish


1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced about 1/8" thick
2 apples, sliced about 18" thick (I didn't peel them)
1 12 oz package cranberries
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/4 c orange juice concentrate
1/4 c Scotch
1 t Chinese five spice powder
1/4 c butter
1/2 c chopped pecans


In a medium saucepan, par cook the sweet potato until it is slightly softened but not mushy.  Ours took 5-8 minutes.  Drain the sweet potato.  In a casserole, layer the sweet potatoes and the apples.  I used three layers of each.  In a medium saucepan, mix the cranberries, brown sugar, OJ, Scotch and five spice powder.  Cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop.  Stir in the butter.  Once that's melted in, pour the relish over the sweet potatoes.  Top with the chopped pecans.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. 

adapted from

Chicken Grand-mere Francine

Somehow our schedule has gotten REALLY busy.  Seems busier than normal.  In the span of eleven days we've had a wine dinner, two trips to the theatre, a football game, a party, dinner with a friend, sushi with the crew from Chef Joseph's, dinner with two different couples and a birthday party.  Yes, that's right, something planned ten days out of eleven.  That meant that actually getting home and being able to fix dinner was a good thing.  I was exhausted from a crazy workload at the office and some big projects at the house.  So, I wanted to fix something easy.  Usually nothing from Weekend in a French Kitchen qualifies as easy AND has an ingredient list that's on hand.  My friends had been raving about Chicken Grand-mere Francine.  I either had everything or a close substitution.  Chicken it was.

Now, first let me tell you about the yard...  We never dreamed when we moved in that the yard would basically be a layer of sod over fill.  We tried to plant a couple of the starts we'd brought along and had to chisel out holes.  It was miserable.  Two of the areas where we wanted to plant had some pretty good slopes.  That meant we could have retaining walls built and topsoil tilled in.  One's shaded by a locust and a pear.  Pear trees don't have a terribly long life span so we don't know how long that one will last.  The locust is a bully.  The roots are upending our driveway and the sidewalk to the front porch.  And, they're right on the surface.  Plus, it's a filthy tree.  There's always some detritus from it.  But, it's huge and having it taken down would be really expensive.  So, replacing it will just have to wait.  Given all that we decided to work with the trees we have.  The guys put some big boulders in to match the one that was already there.  Then, they lined the rest of the bed with stones.  We proceeded to put almost all of our hosta in.  And, the Solomon's Seal, epimedium, astilbe, columbine and meadow rue.  We'll want to fill in with more of everything next spring.  But, for now it looks great.  The other part of the shade garden will be hellebore, heuchera and some daylilies in the partial shade.  The sun garden has two tiers.  I've put in rhubarb and red sorrel.  Space has been left for more rhubarb plants along with kale and Swiss chard.  Then, we've got bee balm, Echinacea, rudebeckia, lilies, iris, daylilies, Siberian iris, horseradish, daisies, peonies and loads of other sun plants.  Here's how everything looked and looks. 

Back to chicken.  We didn't have celery root.  It's always a challenge to find at the grocery and we didn't want to start the hunt.  So, we decided to leave it out.  I had red potatoes and not Yukon Gold.  They'd work just fine.  No Cipollino onions so a large onion cut into chunks would have to work. So, the dish began.  First, you sauté the skin side of the chicken until it's golden brown.  We prefer thighs so that's what I used.  You remove the chicken to a plate and pour off all but two tablespoons of the fat.  Then, you add butter, onions, shallots, garlic and thyme.  Now, the recipe called for something I'd never done.  You separate but do not peel the garlic cloves.  Ok, I'd try it.  After everything gets a little browned, you add the potatoes and bacon.  Cover the pan and cook for ten minutes, stirring a few times.  Then, the chicken goes back in along with some chicken broth.  The whole shebang goes in the oven for 25 minutes.  You proceed to either putter in the kitchen and drool or sit in the living room reading the paper and drooling.  Yes, it smells that good.  And, it tastes as good as it smells!  When we post dishes for Weekend in a French Kitchen, we don't include the recipe.  But, you'll be able to tell a LOT from the photos!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Five Spice Apple Pie

Finally.  The frost is on the pumpkin.  We've had the longest, latest Indian summer I remember.  And, now I'm finally ready for some fall foods.  Like pie.  That's the theme of our Blogger C.L.U.E. Society this month.  And I got assigned one of my all time favorite blogs.  By one of my favorite bloggers!  Deb and I got to be friends almost as soon as I started blogging.  She and her hubby are wonderfully adventurous eaters who love to travel and garden.  Two of our favorite things.  Her blog is named after her cat, Eliot.  Isn't that a purrfect name for a kitty?  For years I've poked around on her blog making yummy dishes.  Too many to count.   One of Deb's recipes that's on my list is her version of Bee's Knees.  It's a cocktail typically made with honey and either gin or vodka.  We've made some version eons ago and I can't remember which Connie used.  But, her version has lavender in the honey simple syrup.  I'm waiting for my lavender buds to dry a bit.  Keep checking the things weekly and they're just not cooperating.  Here's a link to the recipe in the event you've got lavender calling your name:  Bee's Knees.  I wish I'd listed recipes made by each blogger so I could give you a list of the recipes I've tried.  But, alas, they're part of a huge pile of recipes that I've printed, made and put in a pile to organize...  I've finally started a scanned file of recipes.  But, they too need to be organized.  The story of my life.  Too much information needing too much organization!

Speaking of cooperation...  Our local grocery just hasn't been cooperating.  They've been eliminating items that we regularly buy - like frozen chopped broccoli for Chicken Elegante.  And, it's been tougher to find things we don't buy regularly but we do on occasion.  Like Cornish Game Hens.  This time it's frozen sweet cherries.  They've not had them.  And, with our wacko crazy schedules heading out on a mission to find specialty items hasn't been possible.  So, I've changed menus or substituted.  This time, I had to totally change recipes.  You see, I had my heart set on Vanilla Cherry Pie with Almond Crumb Topping.  I know.  Doesn't the name alone make your mouth water?  Then, you read the recipe and swoon.  I so want some of that pie.  And, I've wanted it since the day I found out I was assigned Deb's blog and went pie hunting. 

No cherries meant I was on to a different pie recipe.  Connie was voting for the Frito Pies but I explained this was a pie for Thanksgiving dinner.  Evidently, he loves Frito Pie so much that he'd eat it for Thanksgiving dinner.  I really need to get those on the menu for some Sunday night football!  Then, there's onion pie.  Not quiche, Deb says, but true onion pie.  It's a bit like the famous French onion tart, pissaladiere.  There's one twist to it that I'm so going to try - mustard on the pie crust before you put the rest of the ingredients in.  Doesn't that sound fabulous!

But, I digress, Thanksgiving pie is the subject here.  There were several other choices:  wine and raspberry cream, stone fruit, nutella, pears and apples, and five spice apple.  Now, we've grown to love five spice powder.  It used to be one of those specialty spices rarely used.  Not these days.  I use it in all kinds of recipes.  So, I was intrigued.  And, I was running out of time...  Heading for a conference and my pie had to be made, photographed and blogged before I left town.  We had no time to bake over the weekend.  I thought I'd seen a box of pie crusts in the fridge.  It was a cold, rainy night and traffic was horrid.  So, I broke one of the cardinal rules of the Blogger C.L.U.E. Society.  I changed the recipe.  The box of pie crusts wasn't.  I didn't have shortening.  One of the things I used up before we moved and have never replaced.  Hunting, hunting, hunting.  Ahhh, graham crackers.  Maybe stale, maybe not.  But, something to make a pie crust out of.  What about a topping???  I kept picturing that wonderful vanilla almond topping for the cherry pie.  What if I made one of those and put some more five spice in???  Let me tell you...  This was the BEST apple pie I've ever had. Who would have ever thought that replacing cinnamon with five spice would make such a difference?  But, that's the kind of cooking Deb does.  Creative, inventive, fun.  And, it tastes so darned good!  Here's the link to her recipe and some more photos of mine...  Five Spice Apple Pie.  Please remember to head to the cherry pie recipe for the topping...

Now, here are links to the rest of my friends: 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Raspberry Cointreau Syllabub

Each month we are assigned a new blog to peruse for a recipe that fits that month's theme.  This month I was assigned A Spoonful of Thyme.  I made several wonderful recipes from Kate's blog.  Then, I found out that Rebekah's husband had had a health emergency and she'd not be able to do her post this month.  Well, when I realized that her assigned blog was Food Lust People Love by my friend Stacy, my hand was in the air saying, "Pick ME!  Pick ME!"  You see, Stacy has some of the best cooking around.  And she does it all in the UAE.  She is one amazing woman!!!  So, this month I had the complete and total pleasure of checking out not one but TWO wonderful blogs. 

One of my favorite posts on Stacy's blog is Muffin Monday.  Oh, yeah.  Muffins rock.  And, she has quite the collection.  I remember making one with mushrooms.  Sounds gross.  Tastes incredible.  I really need to make those again.  Soon.  Now, let's talk for a moment about some of her other recipes that caught my eye...  Sweet Potato French Bean Lentil Salad.  Does that sound amazing or what?  Cauliflower Leek Roquefort Tart follows that.  Yeah, I know.  Both of them are on my menu.  I didn't lick the computer screen but I was tempted to!  There's one recipe from my young adulthood that I have to get made soon - dirty rice.  It's a Cajun dish with rice and chicken livers and all kinds of goodies.  Then, there are the sweets.  Too many to list.  Let's just say that if you have a sweet tooth, stop by.  And, if you don't, stop by.  Stacy's got something on here for everyone. 

Our Sunday supper was going to be beef tri-tip from Kate's blog.  It sounded like a pot roast so I had potatoes, onions and carrots ready to go with.  A nice, light dessert sounded perfect.  Like a syllabub.  Whipped cream, Greek yogurt, Cointreau and raspberries with a bit of sugar.  What a perfect dessert.  Our mint didn't survive the move so we picked a leaf or two of lemon balm to go with it.  I may try mint in the future but I'll probably keep using the lemon balm.  Here's where  you find Stacy's recipe:

Raspberry Cointreau Syllabub

And, here's where you can stop in and visit with the rest of my friends from Blogger
C.L.U.E.  Society.

Frangelico Squares and More

This month for Blogger C.L.U.E. Society I was assigned a lovely blog called A Spoonful of Thyme.  I did my normal reading and printing pdf's of likely candidate recipes.  Pulled out the Excel spreadsheet where I keep our menus and tried to figure out what I was going to make.  I really wanted to make the Frangelico bars for Mandy and Nick's party.  But, the split pea soup and the ham, potato and cheese soup sounded really good.  Connie was voting for the risotto with the sun-dried tomatoes.  The spicy plum chicken sounded really good as did the chicken with mushrooms and lemons.   I can't leave out the roasted carrots with bourbon.  Or the meatballs.  Hmmmm.

Well, let's just say that that Kate's blog kind of overtook this Kate's Kitchen :-)  We had a lot of fun cooking from her blog the last couple of weeks.  And, we made some tremendous dishes.  Every last one of them was a make again.  But, I've got to tell you the Frangelico bar story first...

We have this friend named Lou.  Uncle Lou is his nickname.  He used to office in the same building we're in.  Rode the elevator with him enough times that we got to know him.  He ran a Congressional campaign for a guy who also became a friend.  And, he lives across the street from some folks named Jillian and Matt.  Yes, they've become friends too.  Now, Jillian and Matt's best buds have moved to Indy and have purchased a house right behind Jillian and Matt.  So, they had a housewarming party.  Now what you need to understand is that Uncle Lou is in shape.  He's a fitness fanatic.  He eats right.  He doesn't stand around stuffing his face with sweets.  Unless they're Frangelico bars.  I didn't count the number he ate.  And, if I had I wouldn't tell you because I know he's going to read this and I really do want to stay friends with him.  Let's just say that an extra hour or two in the gym wouldn't have been enough to work off the number he ate.  LOL.  Yes, my friends, they are that good. 

We have a saying in our house.  It goes like this, "This is terrible.  You won't like it.  I will have to eat it all so you don't have to worry about it."  Yes, I know it's a bald-faced lie but I do try it on occasion.  When it came to the Frangelico bars, Connie and I both tried it on each other!

Kate doesn't go into a lot of detail about herself so I don't have a lot to share.  But, she did tell one story to tell that had me laughing out loud.  How to store recipes.  Like most of us, she's pretty much tried every method known to mankind.  Right now they seem to be in a stack.  And, that's only one of the out loud giggles I had. Suffice to say that you really need to grab a cup of coffee, sit down and spend an hour or two getting acquainted with her blog.  Not only will you wind up with a bunch of fun recipes, you'll also be entertained!

Rather than type out each recipe here, I'm going to give you links to all the ones we tried.  And, below those links you'll find links to my other Blogger Clue friends recipes this month.  They're a bunch of fabulous cooks so I hope you'll be able to visit them.

Frangelico Bars - I made these exactly like the recipe.  They were one of the best bar cookies I've ever had.  A little like pecan pie bars but better!

Chicken with Mushrooms and Lemon Sauce - to save time here I cut the boneless, skinless chicken breasts into strips.  Then, I added about 1/4 cup of chicken broth to the sauce.  I think Connie would've licked the saucepan had I let him...
Bourbon Carrots - Amazing.  Instead of cayenne we used Emeril's.  So easy and had oodles of flavor.

Split Pea Soup - the best split pea soup I've ever had.  I had to cook the second set of split peas a bit longer to get them soft.  Next time I think I'm going to try adding a can of diced tomatoes. 

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Thighs - this one I really messed with the recipe.   Our grocery doesn't sell boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  So, I used skin on and crisped the heck out of the skin.  I thought I had plum jam in the pantry but couldn't find it so used  beach plum jam.  Loved the sauce!  Yes, I plopped Connie's ear of corn on my plate to carry it to the screened porch.

Risotto with Sun--Dried Tomatoes and Shrimp - risotto is our clean up the kitchen for two dish.  Once I got the hang of making it, it became our comfort food.  I had a jar of sun-dried tomato pesto that I wanted to use up.  Connie missed the chunks of tomatoes but I loved the flavor. 
Best Basic Meatballs - the question is Emeril's or Ina's?  I've made both this year and have loved both of them.  The technique for these is interesting with beef broth on the baking sheet.  The meatballs were super tender and moist.  Emeril's has a bit more zing with the Italian sausage so next time I'm combining his recipe and Ina's technique to see how it works.  Just another excuse for spaghetti and meatballs!
Tri-tip Sandwiches - Thus far, we've just had the tri-tip and the rest of the meat hasn't made it into sandwiches...  As a pot roast this was fabulous.  I loved the gravy with the beef consommé.  Yes, I did add a good glug of red wine...  I served it over half a baked potato with some cooked carrots and onions on the side.
Italian Wedding Soup - Thus far this is only the meatballs.  They are fabulous and I'm sure the rest of the soup will be equally fabulous!
Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread - WOW.  The best gingerbread I've ever had.  I always thought my great-grandmother's recipe couldn't be beaten.  It has been.  The complexity of this is amazing.  I served it to company and shared half of what was leftover.  I think that's getting served to a lunch group today...  Along side I served my great-grandmother's lemon sauce.  Perfection on a plate. 
Ok, now here's the list of the other blogs I hope you'll check out: