Monday, June 26, 2006

Rabbit Stew

I was pleasantly surprised to find farm raised rabbit at my local Publix. Craig and I had rabbit stew at a restaurant recently and really liked it. I decided to buy some and try to make my own rabbit stew at home.



I originally planned to remove the bones and make stew in my usual fashion. One item I didn't notice when I was making my purchase was that the package said "1/2 Cut Up". Once I got it open I realized that I really don't know bunny anatomy.



Once I started, it was like deboning a fish. After getting pretty frustrated with all the toothpick-like bones I changed gears and decided I would stew the meat on the bone first and then strip it off and add it to the rest of the stew. Here it is boiling away...



I strained the rabbit stock and used that along with beef stock for the final stew. I didn't get too fancy with the additions... just carrots, celery, and potatos. For my first attempt I think it worked out pretty well. (especially when served with the leftover biscuits from breakfast).

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Miniature Biscuits

The best way to start a Sunday morning is by making a mess in the kitchen. I decided to make a batch of Emeril's Traditional Southern Biscuits, but in a miniature form.



The dough was very sticky (as the recipe said it would be), but it came together nicely on the board. Here are the biscuits ready to go in the oven.



I had mine with just a big pat of salted butter.



As usual, Craig made a masterpiece. A miniature triple decker bacon, egg, & cheese biscuit sandwich. (Along side is some left over potato-veggie hash from last night)



Click Here for Printable Version

Traditional Southern Biscuits
Recipe Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 1999

ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, cold
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, cold
1 cup milk

directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add 1 tablespoon of the cold butter and the cold shortening and work it into the dry ingredients, using your hands, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the milk. The dough will be sticky.

Dust your work surface with some flour. Turn the dough onto the floured surface. Gently fold each side toward the center. Pick up the dough and dust the work surface with additional flour. Return the dough to the floured surface and fold each side towards the center again. Turn the dough over and press it out to 1-inch thickness. Cut the biscuits, straight down, do not twist the cutter, with a 2 1/4-inch round cookie cutter. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and add to a 10-inch round cake pan. Place the biscuits in the pan, turning once (to coat both sides with butter), about 1/4-inch apart. Let the biscuits rest for 15 minutes before baking. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Spinach-Basil Pesto

Spinach-Basil Pesto



The great thing about pesto is you throw all the ingredients in one bowl and then blend it in the food processor with some olive oil. Last night I made a spinach-basil pesto.... fresh spinach, basil from the garden, toasted pine nuts, romano cheese, garlic, salt, & pepper.

I warmed the pesto on the stove and lightened it up by adding a little milk. I wound up using it as part of a side dish. Craig thought it was a little weird, but I put it over macaroni.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Merry Edwards Pinot Noir - Believe the Hype

2002 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir - Sonoma Coast ($35)



After reading and hearing rave reviews, I decided to make a Merry Edwards Pinot a part of Craig's Christmas gift last year. We finally opened it and can say that you should definitely believe the hype. In 1997 Merry Edwards launched Merry Edwards Wines and she and her partner began producing Pinot Noirs from select vineyards in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations.

This is one of the best California Pinot Noirs we have purchased. As soon as you pour it you are greeted by a beautiful garnet color and earthy nose. Any serious pinot drinker should pick up a bottle. (note: from other reviews I've read, the 2002 vintage was particularly good.)

When asked, Craig's only comment... "goooood"

From the Winemaker...

"This stylish Pinot Noir originated in my own estate vineyard planted in 1998. Located on a southeast-facing slope at the southern boundary of the Russian River Valley, our sustainably-farmed vines produce grapes with a cool climate profile: heady, perfumed aromas and a sleek, firm structure.

Because multiple clones build complexity in wine, I planted five selections of Pinot Noir in my vineyard. The French clones enhance the structure of the wine, while the old, classic California selections round out the mid-palate. Drawing on the qualities of all five, I crafted a fruit-forward wine with a lively, accessible character. Gentle vinification and judicious use of French oak barrels produced this luscious Pinot Noir.

Aromas of rosewater, lavender and anise introduce this mouth-watering wine. Toasty oak takes its place in the background, integrating smoothly with the flavors of blueberry. Supple in the mouth, this Pinot Noir has a long finish, extending the enjoyment of its complex, fruity character. Quail breast glazed with lavender honey would be an excellent match for the wine’s full spectrum of flavors."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sunday Chicken

Tonight... grilled whole chicken, stuffing, and romaine-spinach salad. A great menu that won't heat up the house.

I rubbed the chicken with olive oil and then sprinkled it with just about everything in the spice cabinet. It was grilled standing up using indirect heat.


Romaine & spinach salad with the tomato and green peppers we picked earlier from the garden.


Grilled homemade croutons (dubbed "Cracktons" by Scott after finding them pretty addictive). Bread cubes tossed with melted butter, chopped garlic, fresh herbs, and grated romano cheese. Spread on a single foil layer and toasted until crisp. Yum.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Lamb Quesadilla

The other night we had grilled lamb kabobs (sorry no pictures). There was a good amount left over, so tonight I made grilled Lamb Quesadillas. All I did was put sliced lamb, shredded cheddar cheese, diced red onion, green pepper, and salsa between two large flour tortillas and then heated it outside on the grill.



Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Boschendal Le Pavillon Chardonnay Semillon

We pulled this bottle out last minute to go with dinner. It really didn't have enough time to chill, but we opened it anyway.



Boschendal Winery
2004 Le Pavillon Chardonnay Semillon ($7-10)
South Africa
Blend: 80 % Chardonnay, 20 % Semillon

Although this is a 80/20 Chardonnay-Semillon blend, the Semillon really takes center stage giving this wine a very strong fruity aroma and peachy-melon flavor. It wasn't very acidic, so it didn't stand up very well to our dinner, but after dinner an icy-chilled glass was kind of nice. I'm not sure I would buy it again, but for the price (< $10), I probably shouldn't be too harsh. If you happen to have a bottle I'd suggest icing it down and sipping it on a sunny day.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes



During the week I saw Ina Garten from the Food Network making these pancakes, so I decided to give them a try on Sunday morning. We didn't have an bananas so I just omitted them. They were very good.

Click Here for Printable Version

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
2 extra-large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas, diced, plus extra for serving
Pure maple syrup

directions

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles. Ladle the pancake batter into the pan to make 3 or 4 pancakes. Distribute a rounded tablespoon of bananas on each pancake. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another minute until browned. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add more butter to the pan, and continue cooking pancakes until all the batter is used. Serve with sliced bananas, butter and maple syrup.

The griddle was too hot when I spooned this one on, but its cute shape called for a photo...


Saturday, June 10, 2006

White Sangria

This weekends heat wave called for a refreshing beverage.


(Courtesy of weather.com)

Craig came up with a great recipe for a White Sangria. A bottle of pinot grigio, vodka, midori, and some grapefruit and orange slices. Delicious!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Vegetable Garden Update

A few new vegetable garden pics...





Monday, June 05, 2006

Chocolate-Caramel Tart with Drunken Raspberries

I love cooking magazines, but it's not often that I actually make any of the recipes. Craig suggested I make this one since we have so many raspberries from the garden. There are four seperate recipes for making the tart, but none of them are too difficult.

Click Here for Printable Recipe

Chocolate-Caramel Tart with Drunken Raspberries
Bon Appetit, June 2006, pg 109



CRUST
1 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons cocoa nibs

FOR CRUST:
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 375 degrees. Blend flour, sugar, and salt in food processor. Add 1/2 cup butter; process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolks, process until moist clumps form. Add cocoa nibs; blend in using on/off turns. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of prepared pan. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool pan on rack while preparing caramel filling.

Raw Crust


Baked


CARAMEL FILLING
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

FOR CARAMEL FILLING
Combine sugar and 1/4 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil without stirring until mixture is deep amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat; add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Add butter and stir over low heat until caramel is completely smooth. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; stir in salt. Cool 10 minutes. Pour warm caramel into crust. Let stand at room temperature until completely cool, about 45 minutes.

Caramel Layer


CHOCOLATE GANACHE
1 cup heavy whipping cream
5 oz high-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped

FOR GANACHE
Bring cream to simmer in small saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Let stand until slightly cooked but still pourable, about 10 minutes. Pour ganache evenly over caramel filling. Refrigerate tart uncovered until chocolate is firm, about 2 hours.

Mom got me this bar of chocolate and it was perfect for this recipe.


Making the ganache


In case you are wondering, the little lumps in our ganache is coconut (not in the original recipe, but sounded like a good addition. We added 1/2 Cup)


Chillin in the fridge


DRUNKEN RASPBERRIES
2 - 1/2 pint containers of fresh raspberries
3/4 cup raspberry liquor

FOR RASPBERRIES
Combine raspberries and liquor in small bowl. Let soak at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.

The layers looked neat, but to be honest the caramel flavor was lost.


Slice plated with raspberries.


Scott's Tasting Note - best served with a large glass of cold milk.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Grilled Corn

We found beautiful white corn at Fresh Market today. Since we were already grilling short ribs for dinner we decided to make grilled corn on the cob to go with. No real recipe, but here is the process we used...

-gently pull back husk and remove as much of the silky stuff as possible, return husks around ear
- soak ears of corn in a pot of water for about an hour
- shake off as much water as possible and place directly on grill for 15-20 minutes, until the soft. Don't be concerned if some of the kernels get a char, it adds great flavor.
- remove from grill & strip husks
- slather with butter, salt, pepper and eat up
- floss as necessary




Beautiful, isn't it?




Mmmm, butter.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Thursday, June 01, 2006

French Toast

You've heard me say that I usually leave making breakfast to Craig - here's just a little peak as to why...

Macadamia Nut French Toast