Happy Easter From My Two Easter Danes (Bonus Bixby Puppy Pics!)

It took some doing but I was finally able to snap a picture of the elusive Dabbit’s that live in my backyard.

They really aren’t as unhappy as they look…it’s all fun and games until I tell them to hold.

I’m getting ready to put the rib roast in the oven. We’re keeping it simple today with garlic mashed potatoes, and cucumber tomato salad and a spinach walnut salad. Easter candy for dessert.

When I downloaded the bunny ear photos, somehow a file full of Bixby puppy pictures showed up. I don’t remember seeing most of them. He was 8 weeks old. OMG! That face. Those wrinkles. And that tag is the same one he wears today…which is conspicuously missing in today’s photo. Time to buy a new one – no idea where or when it disappeared.

That is Jake’s bunny and he is not amused. No one touches his rabbit. Which is why 2 1/2 years later, that bunny is still in one piece on my bed.

Happy Easter everyone. Here is to new beginnings!



Friday Dinner Exchange: Holiday Weekend Grilling

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

I have a four day weekend and most of it is supposed to be wild and windy weather, so  grilling will most likely have to wait. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have  grilling recipes. These all seem to be favorites based on comments, views and requests.

First up, the basics of grilling a good steak are here.

Next is one of my most requested recipes in the summer, Steak with Coffee Rub (click here). There is an entire dinner menu and shopping list at the link.

There are nine different hamburger recipes here, including Stuffed Burgers (pictured above) and veggie Black Bean Cheddar Burgers.

And finally, a few grilled chicken recipes, including Sunrise Chicken and Fruit Juice Marinated Chicken are at this link.

What’s on your menu for the weekend? Staying home or hitting the road? What are some of your favorite grilling recipes? Hit the comments and share. Be safe this holiday weekend, and don’t forget to thank a vet.

Tonight’s featured recipe is one of my favorites, because, well, blueberries!

Grilled Sirloin with Spicy Blueberry Sauce

  •  2 cups frozen wild blueberries (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you want it)
  • pinch of chili powder
  • 1 lb Sirloin, cut into 4 pieces
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Saucepan and small bowl

Run still frozen blueberries through a food processor until finely chopped.  Add all ingredients to a small saucepan on low heat until the blueberries melt and give you enough water to bring to a boil without scorching.  Boil for 1 minute or so, stirring constantly until liquid is reduced by half.  Let simmer on low, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of dinner.

Broil or grill sirloin until cooked according to your preference, if you can, sear the outside so it’s really crispy on the outside.  It works well if you coat the steak with lots of ground pepper on the outside as well.  Once the sirloin is done, place two tablespoons of blueberry sauce on the plate, place steak on the sauce then top with more sauce.  Place remaining sauce in a small bowl and serve with meal.  Goes great with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed zucchini.

That’s it for this week. If you missed it, I did post the Blueberry Upside Down Cake photos and recipe here. Later this weekend, I will finally have my gadget review for my robot “butler”.  Have a great holiday weekend – TaMara

 

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Christmas Eve Party

DSC_7514 (1600x1060)

Once again I am hosting Christmas Eve dinner. I try and keep the menu simple because I have a small kitchen and I like to spend time with my guests. I’m actually doing much of what I did last year, because it worked so well.  The menu will serve as tonight’s recipe exchange.  Thanks to JeffreyW for making lasagna this week so that I had an awesome photo to use tonight.

Christmas Eve Menu:

Appetizers –  Herbed Tomato Crostini (recipe here), vegetable tray

Main Event – Spinach Lasagna (recipe here), Salad, Cheesy Garlic Bread

Dessert – Truffles (featured recipe below), Peanut Butter Cookies (recipe here) and everyone’s favorite, a Sundae Bar

With the exception of the garlic bread, because I’m using gluten free noodles, the entire evening is gluten free and vegetarian. Everyone should be happy.

Dinner is at 6 pm, bring the wine.

That takes care of Christmas Eve, but what about Christmas day? How does this sound:

German Pancakes with Walnut Syrup (both recipes here) for breakfast and a Roast, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Glazed Carrots for dinner (all those recipes are here and tips for perfect mashed potatoes are here).

How are your holiday plans coming along? Do you have a crowd coming? Share your favorite holiday recipes in the comments, I’d love to see what you prepare.

Now about those truffles. This was the first time I’d made them, though I’d thought about it for a while. How hard could it be? It’s basically ganache, right? That was very simple to make. The pain was making the actual truffles, a bit of work and very messy. But I think it was worth it and I’m sure the guests will enjoy them.

Truffles

Here’s the basic recipe, I then added pieces of walnut to the center of some, hazelnut to others and rolled them in either crushed walnut or hazelnut. The rest are rolled in either dark cocoa and powdered sugar. The powdered sugar kind of melted into them, so I’ll probably dust them quickly right before I serve them.

Chocolate Truffles

  • 1/2 pound good bittersweet chocolate (I use 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate)
  • 1/2 pound good semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier, (optional)
  • 1 tbsp prepared coffee
  • 1/2 tsp good vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cocoa powder (I used dark)
  • Nuts, whole and finely chopped (optional)

baking sheet, parchment paper

Heat the cream in a double boiler until it’s hot, not boiling, and then add chocolate chips. Whisk together until fully melted, then remove from heat.  Whisk in the optional Grand Marnier, coffee, and vanilla. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

Spoon a dollop of the chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm. Roll each dollop of chocolate in your hands to roughly make a round ball. Roll in powdered’ sugar, cocoa powder, or both.

Makes about 48.

These will keep refrigerated for weeks, but serve at room temperature.

cropped-flower_poinsettia_d2.jpg

Bears Repeating: Grilled Sirloin w/Spicy Blueberry Sauce

The other day Kirk and Jeff were talking about how well savory and sweet go together.  And as luck would have it, I was prepping a special menu that was just that.  I’ve blogged this recipe before, but it is so good and great in the summer,  I’m going to repost here.  I usually use wild frozen blueberries, they have great flavor.  Once again:

Grilled Sirloin with Spicy Blueberry Sauce

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you want it)
  • pinch of chili powder
  • 1lb Sirloin, cut into 4 pieces
  • Fresh ground pepper (opt)

Saucepan and small bowl

Run still frozen blueberries through a food processor until finely chopped.  Add all ingredients to a small saucepan on low heat until the blueberries melt and give you enough water to bring to a boil without scorching.  Boil for 1 minute or so, stirring constantly until liquid is reduced by half.  Let simmer on low, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of dinner.

Broil or grill sirloin until cooked according to your preference, if you can, sear the outside so it’s really crispy on the outside.  It works well with lots of ground pepper on the outside as well.  Once the sirloin is done, place two tablespoons of blueberry sauce on the plate, place steak on the sauce then top with more sauce.  Place remaining sauce in a small bowl and serve with meal.  Goes great with garlic mash potatoes and sautéed zucchini.

Here is the original menu.

Fried Chicken with Mmm..Mashed Potatoes

Thawed some chicken thighs and decided to fry them for dinner.  The asparagus was going to have to be used soon, been in the fridge for three or four days.  Of course mashed potatoes and gravy have to be part of any fried chicken dinner.  We’re not talking picnic here, where potato salad is expected.

I used a buttermilk marinade for the thighs, made my own from regular milk–added a few teaspoons of lemon juice to it along with red pepper and some seasoned salt.  They soaked in the milk for a couple of hours in the fridge.

I finished the chicken in the oven after browning the flour dredged pieces in hot oil on the stove top.  That turned out to be a mistake because my oven temp regulator decided 300 really meant 425.  I knew it was not accurate but I have been getting a good 350 on the dial thermometer when the knob is turned to 300.  Should have checked.  Fortunately the thighs didn’t dry out, though the crust got darker than I wanted.

The asparagus was steamed for seven minutes and then doused with a lemon/butter sauce.  That went without a hitch.

The mashed potatoes were good, used the colander to drain the cooking water and then right back into the pot went the potatoes with a couple of cloves of garlic diced fine.  A good dollop of sour cream followed along with several pats of butter and a splash of milk or two.  Use however much milk you need to get the consistency right for you.  The gravy was great, wish I had made more.  After the oil cooled enough from browning the chicken I dumped most of it into a container to fully cool, leaving a few tablespoons worth in the pan along with the crispy flour bits.  Into the reheated oil I added a couple of tablespoons of flour and let that cook for a minute or two, then dumped in some of the marinade along with some fresh milk, maybe a cup and a half.  Soon it was gravy!  I went with the usual few drops of Kitchen Bouquet to darken it a tad.

Biscuits would have been great on the side, but the bread I got out of the machine and buttered while still warm was pretty darn good.

Thursday Night Menu – Western Edition

This was the menu at a Bistro in Colorado that really stuck with me.  Had some great Riesling with it, too.  On the board tonight:

  1. Grilled Sirloin with Spicy Blueberry Sauce
  2. Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  3. Steamed Zucchini
  4. Coffee w/Biscotti

Grilled Sirloin with Spicy Blueberry Sauce

Sauce:

  •  2 cups frozen blueberries (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you want it)
  • pinch of chili powder

Sirloin:

  • 1lb Sirloin, cut into 4 pieces
  • Fresh ground pepper (opt)

Saucepan and small bowl 

Sauce: Run still frozen blueberries through a food processor until finely chopped.  Add all ingredients to a small saucepan on low heat until the blueberries melt and give you enough water to bring to a boil without scorching.  Boil for 1 minute or so, stirring constantly until liquid is reduced by half.  Let simmer on low, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of dinner.

Sirloin:  Broil or grill sirloin until cooked according to your preference, if you can, sear the outside so it’s really crispy on the outside.  It works well with lots of ground pepper on the outside as well.  Once the sirloin is done, place two tablespoons of blueberry sauce on the plate, place steak on the sauce then top with more sauce.  Place remaining sauce in a small bowl and serve with meal. 

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  • 6 large russet potatoes or equivalent – washed & cut into 6-8 pieces (peeling is optional)
  • 1 to 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

2 quart sauce pan

Add potatoes to sauce pan and cover with water, place lid on and bring to a boil. Once potatoes are fork tender, drain well.  Add butter, garlic, salt & pepper, milk and broth to a glass measuring cup and microwave for 30 seconds to warm (this keeps potatoes from getting cold while you mash them).  Add to potatoes and mash until fluffy.

Shopping List

  • 16 oz frozen blueberries (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 oz white wine vinegar
  • 1lb Sirloin
  • 6 large russet potatoes or equivalent – washed & cut into 6-8 pieces (peeling is optional)
  • zucchini
  • Biscotti
  • Really nice coffee (I suggest Lavazza)

Also: sugar, red pepper flakes, crushed garlic, butter, milk