This blue cheese ball comes from a family recipe that goes back as far as I can remember. It’s been such a tradition that even my own children consider this a standard dish at Christmas parties and get togethers with family. Perhaps because of the green and red bell peppers, but I’ve even had it at Fourth Of July get togethers and replaced the green bell peppers with blue berries for a more patriotic look. Serve with your favorite crackers and you’ll have a hit on your hands. Of course you must enjoy blue cheese to appreciate this appetizer. In our family that’s not a problem, when our youngest daughter was just three she enjoyed eating blue cheese, full strength, which so surprised me to say the least. She definitely was not switched at birth. Continue reading
Growing up I was taught not to brag. That lesson must have stuck more than others because to this day it’s hard for me to even accept a compliment. With that in mind, I feel like I’m about to disappoint my mother, because… Continue reading
Early on I made a chicken stock for you, as winter had arrived and well, lets face it, there is nothing like homemade soup- for which you need a good stock. So today we’ll make beef stock and oh I see beef stew in my future. Actually, French Onion Soup sounds really wonderful with melted cheese… and a glass of wine, too. Doesn’t it sound perfect?
There are many occasions where a recipe calls for either chicken or beef stock and what is called stock in our grocery store is so watered down it no longer resembles a stock with the appropriate adjectives such as rich, deep flavor, mouth watering, and soul satisfying. Your stock is the essence of the dish; if it’s not the very best the dish will not be your best creation. You can make a good stock and freeze it and for the occasion when you just need a few tablespoons it’s a great idea to freeze them in ice cube trays then pop out what you need. Great for soups, stews and sauces.
In classic French cuisine stocks are so important that they are known as the “fond du cuisine”
or the foundation of cooking. Stocks are not intimidating by any mean but rather easy and economical and taste wonderful. Save all your bones, freeze them and they will be there when you have time to cook them up and make your stock. Here we go.
In a large stock pot add all your bones, vegetables, spices and water. Bring it to a boil then lower heat to medium and continue simmering for 2-3 hours. Check it often and adjust the temp if necessary. I usually aim for 3 hours as it has time to render the marrow and make it richer. Remove bones and vegetables to a strainer and drain broth thru strainer right into a bowl, pressing any liquid out of vegetables with the back of a large spoon. Discard any solids and drain remaining stock if any in the same strainer catching any spices or pieces. Again, press liquid out with the back of a large spoon, and discard the solids. If you can drain everything all at once, great! I tend to do batches- it’s just easier and I don’t have a large enough strainer. Remember you want a smooth, silky broth.
Refrigerate stock so fat rises to the top, you can now skim off and discard the fat. Freeze in ice cube trays or freezer bags. Now you’re ready for the next time you prepare a soup, stew or sauce. You’ll taste the difference and never purchase at the grocery store again. I promise.
- 4 pounds meaty beef neck bones or beef soup bones
- 12 cups water
- 1 large onion
- 2 carrots, scrubbed and cut into pieces
- 2 large celery stalks with leaves cut into pieces
- 1 large leek, cleaned and cut into pieces
- 1 heaping Tablespoon parsley
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
- Add all ingredients to a large stock pot.
- Bring to boil.
- Lower heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours.
- Remove bones and vegetables.
- Strain liquid into a container.
- Refrigerate until fat solidifies at top.
- Remove fat.
I’m sitting here drinking some kombucha and it’s delightfully tasty. I noticed today when I consume kombucha I’m not as hungry throughout the day. Has anyone else experienced this? Maybe it’s the Almond Joy Protein Bars I made this morning, I love them! I was first introduced Continue reading
Slightly adapted from Food Wishes
This one has eluded me for a while. I tried the food processor method, the blender method, and even the (gasp) hand held whisk method, and was never able to get my mayonnaise to emulsify. A few years ago I complained to a friend of mine who also happens to be a highly skilled chef. He laughed and promised to show me how to properly make it the next time we saw each other. Continue reading
We love Chinese food, especially stir fry. In a typical week we’ll make stir fry two or three times, and Jan will occasionally ask me if I’m getting tired of having it for dinner. The answer is always “no.” Continue reading
As a kid growing up we always had cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was OK, but I always considered it a bit bitter and one dimensional. In fact, I preferred the jelly from the can (I know, I feel rather ashamed of that but it is a fact non the less). So I phased out the old recipe I grew up on. It’s so wonderful to have certain dishes that bring back childhood memories and I have many, that just wasn’t one of them. Continue reading
This dish incorporates so many of my favorite things… potatoes, cheese, breakfast, almost any type of pie…and, it’s fancy enough to impress.
As much as I love pastry, a few months ago I envisioned doing something with a crust of thinly sliced potatoes instead of a traditional pie crust. I was thinking that a cheesecake shaped quiche would be beautiful, so I got one of our trusty spring-form pans, sliced a few spuds, and got to Continue reading
Allons Manger! (Let’s Eat!)
I grew up about a twenty minute drive from the Gulf of Mexico, in a little Texas town so far southeast that it was practically southwestern Louisiana. Cajun influences abounded. The best parts of my childhood involved salty gulf waters where we caught blue crabs with string and chicken necks, played on the beach, and fished and fished and fished.
A Cajun uncle owned a shrimp boat, so seafood was plentiful and I grew up with an appreciation and strong opinion of what constituted a proper seafood gumbo. About three years ago I filmed a chef buddy of mine making his version of seafood gumbo, and although it was a little different than what I grew up with, it was and is incredibly delicious.
If you’re unfamiliar with gumbo you should know that although there is no definitive recipe (there are as many as there are Cajuns) there are authentic recipes (also as many as there are Cajuns) and this is as authentic as they come. I have since made my friend’s seafood gumbo at least ten or twelve times, and invite you to give it a try.
What’s Out There Wednesday
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