Mexican Pork Carnitas

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Who is sick of WINTER? Meee! I cannot wait for it to get into the 40’s and that use to be really cold to me! I am heading to FL in a couple of weeks.  I. Cannot. Wait.  I hope it is at least in the 60’s.  I don’t think I am asking for much, am I?

I made this dish a couple of weeks ago and we all loved it. I was happy to see that pork butt was on sale at the grocery store today. It gave me a reason to make it again and I could take photos and share it with you.

This recipe is really good. It is perfect for tacos and nachos or a great filling for enchiladas, tamales and burritos. I have only used it for tacos and nachos. Oh, and I just ate it right out of the frig the next morning. I love cold meat and pizza…. for breakfast. Weird, I know!

Pork Carnitas

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

  • 3 1/2 – 4 pound boneless pork butt, fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 small onions, peeled and halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1  Tablespoon dried oregano ( I used a tad more)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice ( One lime)
  • 2 C water
  • 1 medium orange

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine pork,  salt, pepper, cumin, onion, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, lime juice, and water in large Dutch oven (liquid should just barely cover meat). Cut orange in half; juice orange into medium bowl and remove any seeds. I would say 1/4 – 1/3 cup of juice would be a good amount (I had about 1/4 cup). Add juice and spent orange halves to pot. Bring mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook until meat is soft and falls apart when poked with fork, about 2 hours.

2. Remove pot from oven and turn oven to broil. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl; remove orange halves, onion, and bay leaves from cooking liquid and discard (do not skim fat from liquid). Place pot over high heat (use caution, as handles will be very hot) and simmer liquid, stirring frequently, until thick, 8 to 12 minutes. You should have about 1 cup reduced liquid.

3. Using 2 forks, pull each piece of pork in half. Gently fold pork into reduced liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread pork in a even layer on a foiled lined jelly roll pan. Place pan on lower-middle rack and broil until top of meat is well browned (but not charred) and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, flip pieces of meat and continue to broil until top is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Serve immediately with warm tortillas and your favorite toppings.

All ready to bring to a simmer on the stove top and then pop it into the oven.

All ready to bring to a simmer on the stove top and then pop it into the oven.

The kitchen smelled wonderful as it cooked. It took 2 hours until it was done.

The kitchen smelled wonderful as it cooked. It took 2 hours until it was done.

After breaking the meat apart, reducing the liquid and then tossing the meat with the liquid, it is ready for the broiler.

After breaking the meat apart, reducing the liquid and then tossing the meat with the liquid, it is ready for the broiler.

Meanwhile, I mixed up a Pico de gallo. I really do not have a set recipe for this. Diced tomato, onion, jalapeno and cilantro, lime juice, salt. This time I added diced avocado.

Meanwhile, I mixed up a Pico de gallo. I really do not have a set recipe for this. Diced tomato, onion, jalapeno and cilantro, lime juice, salt. This time I added diced avocado.

Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas

Tonight I served it on a tortilla with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and shredded cheese. Not sure what I will do with the leftovers tomorrow, but I know it will be good!

Tonight I served it on a tortilla with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and shredded cheese. Not sure what I will do with the leftovers tomorrow, but I know it will be good!

When I first made this, I was unsure about adding the orange.  I don’t even taste the orange, but I know it adds the the flavor. Reducing the liquid and tossing it into the meat and then broiling it, is a must!

~Relish Food & Life

Skillet Roasted Garlic and Thyme Chicken

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It’s THYME to get back in the saddle and start blogging again. Last night I made this chicken I found on Pinterest and it was pretty darn good. Add a Pinch is where I found this recipe.  She has some yummy looking recipes posted on her site.

Her recipe suggests preheating the oven to 475°. I preheated the oven to 450°. I was also roasting corn on the cob in the oven and that was the suggested temp for the corn. So I roasted the chicken a little longer in the oven, but not too much longer.

Skillet Roasted Garlic and Thyme Chicken

Ingredients
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6-8 chicken thighs, skin on ( I used thighs and legs)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 6  8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 475º degrees.

Heat 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on stove top.  Drizzle in olive oil and heat, but do not let it get to a smoking point.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken thighs and place the chicken skin side down into skillet. Cook until chicken skin has browned. Turn and reduce heat to medium. Cook chicken until fat has rendered off, about 10-12 more minutes.

Sprinkle the chicken with paprika, tuck in whole garlic cloves throughout chicken thighs, and top with thyme sprigs. Place in oven and roast until chicken temperature registers 160º F, about 12-13 more minutes (depends on if you have your oven temp at 450° or 475°). Remove from oven and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.

Please excuse my photo. I took it with my phone after I realized how good the chicken was and most of it was consumed ;)

20131105-084322.jpgThe garlic was so good in this dish. I served it with small whole red potatoes that I microwaved with olive  oil, salt and pepper. I smashed the garlic into my potato…oh yeah, that was good. I also served oven roasted corn on the cob, I will post that recipe on a different day. It was really good and easy.

After our last dog passed away a few years ago, I swore I would not get another dog. Never say Never….I would like you to meet the newest addition to our family. He has brought so much joy to our home. We loved him as soon as we saw him.

Louie

Louie

~Relish Food & Life

Grilled Sweet Onions Stuffed with Blue Cheese & Bacon

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I had this recipe pinned on Pinterest for a long time. I finally got around to trying it out last night and I am sure glad I did. It was very easy to prepare and really good.

I have never been a huge Blue Cheese lover, but I am learning to like it. This recipe definitely helped me like it even more :)

This recipe came from What’s Cooking Blog.

Grilled Sweet Onions Stuffed with Blue Cheese & Bacon

  • 4 large-sized sweet onions
  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup blue cheese
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Trim the ends off of the onions, and peel. Scoop out the inside of the onion to create a hole, but do not go through the bottom. I used a melon baller.

Mix butter, blue cheese, bacon, thyme, salt and pepper. I used a pinch of salt since blue cheese tends to be salty. I added a couple pinches of the pepper.

Stuff the onions with the blue cheese mixture. Wrap the onion in pieces of foil. Make sure to seal it at the top to keep steam inside.

Heat your grill on high. Reduce heat to medium low and place the foil pouches directly over the heat. Close the lid of the grill and cook for 30 – 40 minutes. (The Cooking time will vary upon size of onions). Try not to open the grill or the pouches while cooking.

Remove from the grill and let sit for 5 minutes in the foil. The steam from the pouches will be hot, so be careful when opening them. I found there was a lot of butter at the bottom of the foil, so I suggest using tongs to take out the onions….trust me, you do not need all that butter that is left at the bottom, but if you wish you can drizzle some of the butter on top of the onion ;)

Scoop out a hole in the top of the onion.

Scoop out a hole in the top of the onion.

Stuff the onion with the Blue Cheese mixture. Bring the foil to the top of the onion and make sure it is sealed.

Stuff the onion with the Blue Cheese mixture. Bring the foil to the top of the onion and make sure it is sealed.

After done grilling, let it sit for 5 minutes. Be careful when opening, the steam will be hot.

After done grilling, let it sit for 5 minutes. Be careful when opening, the steam will be hot.

Grilled Sweet Onion Stuffed with Blue Cheese & Bacon

Grilled Sweet Onion Stuffed with Blue Cheese & Bacon

Sorry for the photos, I took them with my phone and they did not turn out too good :( BUT I really wanted to share this recipe with you.

I made one for each of us. I think we each could have eaten 2 of them. Even this not too sure about blue cheese person LOVED them.

~Relish Food & Life

Chicken Pasta with a Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

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I pulled out one of my old Cookbooks and turned to one of my favorites. It is a easy and tasty recipe.

**Update: I was posting this to main dishes under recipes and I already posted this recipe. I even checked the list. Oh well, it may be a little different and it shows you I really like it!

7This is a great cookbook. It has a lot of delicious recipes in it. My favorite cookbooks tend to be from Junior Leagues. They seem to have a variety of recipes. Here is my slightly altered version.

Chicken Past with a Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tsp. Extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 – 6 shallots, minced
  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast or tenders, cooked and julienned **
  • 8 oz jar Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained***
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 16 oz. penne pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • 3 – 4 Tablespoons julienned fresh basil ( I have used dried when fresh is not available)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper

Get the penne started in boiling salted water. Cook until it is al dente. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet at medium heat. Add shallots and saute for around 2 minutes or until soft. Add the cooked chicken and sun-dried tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in Cream. Start with 1 cup and add more if needed. I used approximately a heavy 1 1/4 cups. Add Salt, red pepper flakes and pinch of pepper. Cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. If my pasta is not done at this point, turn down the heat;  put a lid on the skillet that is slightly vented to keep warm. Toss pasta with butter You could skip this if you are watching your figure ;) Then toss in pasta, Parmesan cheese and basil. Serve immediately top each plate of pasta with Parmesan, if desired. This will serve 6 -8.

**I sprinkle the chicken with an Italian seasoning blend, Tuscan Sunset from Penzey Spices.  You could use any Italian seasoning blend. Then put it in a covered glass casserole and microwave until done.

***I LOVE LOVE Sun- dried tomatoes. They are packed with flavor. I usually use the ones that are not packed in oil, but I really think using the oil packed in this recipe is the best. I used the ones that are packed in oil, julienned and with Italian Seasonings.

Look at the pile of yummy goodness!

Look at the pile of yummy goodness!

Saute the shallots in olive oil.

Saute the shallots in olive oil. Saute until soft.

Add chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add cream; cook additional 2 minutes.

Add cream, salt and peppers; cook additional 2 minutes. Toss pasta with butter; then with sauce, Parmesan cheese and basil.

Chicken Pasta with Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

Chicken Pasta with Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

I served this with Roasted Broccoli. You can click to view the recipe. Grace is my broccoli eater and I think she could eat the whole bowl ;)

Sundried tomato pasta and broc

I am trying a few new snack recipes tomorrow for Bunco. I will post them if they are keepers ;)

Have a great weekend!

~Relish Food & Life!

Truffle Brie Mac n Cheese

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I went to Sam’s the other day and saw this Brie, I had to buy it!

truffle

I have become addicted to Truffles. For those who do not know what truffles are,  truffle are rare, edible mushroom that is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. Truffles are among the most expensive of the world’s natural foods and the most valuable of the fungus family. You can find truffle oil and truffle salt in stores. I have never actually seen a whole truffle, just the oil and salt. A little goes a long way so be careful when adding it to a dish.
Uses for Truffle oil or salt:

  • eggs
  • popcorn
  • mashed potatoes
  • deviled eggs
  • truffle salt on French fries ♥
  • pasta
  • google it..ideas are endless
Ugly little things, but so tasty!

Ugly little things, but so tasty!

I started searching for a good recipe to use this Brie in. I found one from The Fifth Time blog,Truffle Brie Mac n Cheese. Seriously, how can this be anything but delicious?

Check out The Fifth Time blog by clicking above. There are some awesome recipes on it…I have a few picked out to try out soon. Thanks for the recipe :)

Truffle Brie Mac n Cheese

For the breadcrumbs:

  • 1/2 loaf ciabatta bread (or any bread you have on hand) I used 3 ciabatta rolls that I purchased at Sams
  • 2 4 teaspoons garlic, minced garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 3 tablespoons olive oil
Notes: I had the rolls and wanted to use those up. 3 made a lot of bread crumbs, so I increased the butter, olive oil and hey who doesn’t like a bit more garlic.

For the cheese/ pasta:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 ounces Marscapone cheese (or cream cheese) (I used Marscapone)
  • 1 pound grated Sharp Cheddar ( I used extra sharp)
  • 1 pound grated Monterrey Jack
  • 4 ounces Black Truffle Brie or 4 ounces plain Brie + 3 T truffle oil
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni

For the breadcrumbs: Cube your bread into medium size squares and put it in the food processor for a couple of pulses. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tbsp oil in large skillet overt medium heat. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add bread crumbs to skillet a stir until crumbs are slightly toasted – about 5 minuets. Set aside. ***I added my whole garlic to the bread in the food processor, then added the bread/garlic to the pan of olive oil and butter.

For the cheese & pasta: Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than the al dente package directions. Make sure to salt your water. Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan heat butter and olive oil until melted over medium high heat. Next, whisk your flour into the butter and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add cream and milk whisking in between to make sure there are no lumps. Bring mixture to a simmer and whisk until desired thickness (close to pancake batter). Remove from heat. Add grated cheese & marscapone and mix until melted. Season with salt & pepper. If using truffle oil – add this to the cheese mixture.

Stir in drained, cooked pasta to the cheese mixture. Transfer to a baking dish and top with sliced brie cheese & then sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Truffle Brie Mac n Cheese

Truffle Brie Mac n Cheese

Yep, I am having a big scoop of that for lunch, after I run 3 miles ;)

Relish Food & Life!

No Bake Nutter Butter Butterfinger Bars and DIY 3 Tier Stand

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Hello Everyone! I really do not have an excuse for why I haven’t been posting…but I am back! I am super excited to get back in the swing of blogging!

This morning I made 2 pies for St. Dominics chicken dinner. My go to pie for chicken dinners is Oatmeal Pie. It is so good and easy!

After getting the pies in the oven, I decided to try a recipe that I pinned on pinterest, No Bake Nutter Butter Butterfinger Bars  from Domestic Rebels Blog. They are super easy and very tasty! I know this is Peanut Butter Square country around here…but I think you will love these!

No Bake Nutter Butter Butterfinger Bars

  •  30 Nutter Butter cookies, finely crushed*
  • 1 pkg peanut butter chips
  • 1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  •   12 mini (or 2 regular) Butterfinger candy bars, roughly chopped*
  • 1 small pkg Nutter Butter minis, optional (You can see on Domestic Rebels recipe that she has them on top. I could not find them in the local grocery store. Totally not necessary, they are still delish. It makes the bars look pretty)
  1. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Lightly spray foil with cooking spray & set aside.
  2. In a bowl melt the peanut butter chips in the microwave for 45 seconds, stir and microwave 20 seconds and stir until smooth. It might take a little longer. Stir in the Sweetened condensed milk to combine.
  3. Combine the crushed cookies into the melted peanut butter chips/ sweetened condensed milk mixture; gently fold in the crushed candy bars to incorporate.
  4. Using a greased rubber spatula, spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. I put plastic wrap on top and press the mixture into the pan so it was nice and tight. Top with miniature Nutter Butter cookies, if desired.
  5. Place the pan in the fridge to set, about 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve. Store leftovers airtight, at room temperature, for 3-4 days.

* I used my food processor to finely grind the cookies. It worked great.  I also used the processor to roughly chop the candy bars. When doing this do not process them as fine as you grind the cookies.

Update: I had a wonderful suggestion from Toots, dip them in chocolate or I thought it would be good to just dip half of it in chocolate :p

No Bake Nutter Butter Butterfinger Bars

No Bake Nutter Butter Butterfinger Bars

Grace was super excited to see I was making them. She is addicted to Pinterest as much as I am ;) They  got her approval!

Here is another Pinterest pin:

DYI 3 Tier Stand

To make this stand: you will need E6000 glue, 3 plates in 3 different sizes, 2 clear candlesticks.

Nutter butters 003

You can find the candlesticks at a Dollar store. I found these plates at Target. They are not glass, but a hard plastic.

Find center and glue the bottom of candlestick to the 2 smallest plates.

Find center and glue the bottom of candlestick to the 2 smallest plates.

Here is a closer photo so you can see what end of the candlestick.

Here is a closer photo so you can see what end of the candlestick.

After you let the glue set for at least 5 hours. Glue the medium plate with candlestick to the center of the large plate. Then glue the small plate with candlestick to the center of the medium plate. Let it sit for at least 24 hours.

After you let the glue set for at least 5 hours, glue the medium plate with candlestick to the center of the large plate. Then glue the small plate with candlestick to the center of the medium plate. Let it sit for at least 24 hours.

Look how cute this is and so easy!

Look how cute this is and so easy!

The ideas are endless using E6000 to glue plates, glasses, bowls etc. together.

~Relish Food & Life!

Fabulous Foodie Weekend & Roasted Brussel sprouts with pancetta and basalmic glaze

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About a month ago I came up with the idea of a surprise visit to see my daughter, Samantha in West Palm Beach, FL. Along with that surprise was 2 tickets for us to go to an event at Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival, Burgers on the Beach. We are both foodies, love to cook, entertain family & friends and can curl up on the couch with a great cookbook or food magazine. So, this was the PERFECT gift for her! wink wink

I could hardly wait to surprise her and surprise she was! We started the weekend off by heading downtown West Palm Beach to Clematis street. Clematis street is a definite stop if you are in WPB. Lots of great restaurants and different events going on all the time. We found out Cassedee Pope was making a hometown appearance that was being filmed for Mondays episode of The Voice. I have been watching it this season so that was pretty exciting for me. She sang a few songs and thanked everyone for their support. I will have to say, she sounds better on TV. She did mention they just found out that they were going to their hometowns and performing. I am sure being home, not having much practice and seeing all her family and friends had something to do with it….because Monday on The Voice, she sounded awesome. If you watched it Mondays night, when she was singing to a crowd, I was one of the them in the crowd.

palm beach the voice 2

After she was done singing, it was off to Rocco’s Taco’s. It is always a must eat place when I go to WPB. Great Margaritas, Sangria, and atmosphere! Unfortunately, I did not take any photos here. Just trust me, the food was really good. Here is their website,check out their menu. Roccos Tacos

Samantha had to work Friday morning, so I decided to head across the street to City Place for some breakfast and shopping. Whenever Sam has to work, I love going IL Bellagio’s for breakfast. I always order Nana’s Breakfast. It is Italian Bread Grilled with an Egg Cooked in the Center, Served with Roasted Pepper & potatoes and bacon. I had a nice surprise, Jeff, Samantha boyfriend joined me for breakfast.Check out IL Bellagio’s Website.

That afternoon I went back to Samantha’s apartment. She was back from working and asked if we wanted to do a little shopping at City Place. I said sure, so we shopped a bit when she said “Let’s check things out over this way”. She surprised me with a wonderful Spa afternoon :) We had massages and facials. I do not get them often, but when I do, I wonder why don’t I get them more often. I think that is going to be a must for 2013!

palm beach spa day

After the spa, we hurried and got ready for dinner. Samantha made reservations at Max Harvest, Farm to Fork in Delray Beach. The best thing about this place is all of their ingredients are from local farmers. Their menu changes frequently according to what is available. We decided to order several things and share them. After scouring the menu, we decided on Ricotta Gnocchi with Short rib, Smoked Gouda & Pancetta Mac ‘n Cheese, Bacon-Sizzled brussels w/ Kimchee & Lemon and stuffed squash blossoms.The food was fantastic! Here is their website. Max Harvest.

palm beach Max harvest

Even though we did not need it, the waiter talked us into dessert! Yes, he twisted our wrist until we said uncle ;)

HOMEMADE donuts with 2 sauces. Needless to say, We brought Jeff home some left overs ;)

HOMEMADE donuts with 2 sauces. Needless to say, We brought Jeff home some left overs ;)

The day has come….Palm Beach Wine & Food Festival, but we needed to check out Samantha’s new apartment first. She will be moving the end of this week. It is just a couple blocks down from where she is now. It is a great apartment with a fantastic view from the pool. She has a good view from her apartment too, but love this one.

palm beach sam's apartment

Burger on the Beach, Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, my one word to describe it would be Fabulous! It was held at Four Seasons Resort

I am not going to lie, I was a bit nervous going to this being from a small farm town. When we first got there, we spotted the bar. Free cocktails, champagne, beer or whatever you wanted. We got a cocktail and then I said Let’s just sit on this couch, take it in and see how this thing works etc. So we did, then I immediately spilled my drink! Damn…sunglasses with readers. So, embarrassed! There was a guy there within seconds cleaning it up for me. I apologized profusely. He said, Not a problem, anytime! Ha! I thought I was going to have to call him over a couple other times. I was a mess with those glasses. Funny thing, we were standing at a table and this lady spilled her drink. Her husbands said to us, “She has these sunglasses with readers and she is having a hard time with them.” I was never so happy to hear that! Note to self: Do not wear Sunglasses with readers next year or to a party!

The setting of the party was just off the beach. In the pool area. It was like I had held a party in my back yard. That is how small and intimate it was. We were up close to all the chefs. We got to chat and mingle with them. Samantha and I were standing at a small cocktail table and realized Marc Murphy, Chopped judge was standing there with us. She recognized several local celebrities. I heard several people and chefs comment that this is the one to go to, the others are too big.

You can ask anyone in my family, I always have Food Network, Bravo or The Cooking Channel on the TV…I was in heaven with winners of Top Chef and Food Network celebrities there. Here are some of the photos from the event.

palm beach sam processo by the beach

palm beach sam lobster burger

Marc Summers from Unwrapped, Food Network Channel. He was just hanging out everywhere.

Marc Summers from Unwrapped, Food Network Channel. He was just hanging out everywhere.

Jeff Mauro, winner Next Network Star. He has a show on Food Network, Sandwich King..

Jeff Mauro, winner Next Network Star. He has a show on Food Network, Sandwich King..

Pool area. Party was on the left of the photo.

Pool area. Party was on the left of the photo.

Ahhh, Fabio, my favorite. He was on Top Chef. He did not win, but has several restaurants and on tv a lot. When we got back from Italy, we made his gnocchi. It was soo good. His burger was not bad either!

Ahhh, Fabio, my favorite. He was on Top Chef. He did not win, but has several restaurants and on tv a lot. When we got back from Italy, we made his gnocchi. It was soo good. His burger was not bad either!

palm beach fabios burger

palm beach fabio

Another favorite, Robert Irvine from Restaurant Impossible.

Another favorite, Robert Irvine from Restaurant Impossible.

Our red carpet photo ;)

Our red carpet photo ;)

She was loving all the burgers.

She was loving all the burgers.

The Burgers we tasted were, Fabio’s short rib burger with caramelized onions in a balsamic glaze, brie and red raddicchio, Chef Irvines pimento cheeseburger sliders with pork belly, Jeff Mauro’s Patty Melt, Top Chef season 7 winner Kevin Sbraga’s Za’atar lamb slider (great, but when I took a bite it squirted all over my dress) and Four Seasons chef Darryl Moile’s lobster burger. There were truffle fries, sweet potato hash browns and all other kind of goodies floating around.

As we were taking everything in, Sam said “Mom, can we do this again next year?” my reply “You betcha!” Thank you to my wonderful husband for saying yeah, you should go. I hope he is ok with it now being a yearly event ;)

On Sunday, Samantha and I headed to the grocery store to load up on the ingredients we needed to make dinner that night. We decided we wanted to make Mussels with 2 different sauces and Lobster Mac N Cheese. I love cooking with my daughters, Samantha seems to be the one who likes it the most. Kate and Grace are beginning to jump on the boat with us. While cooking, we realized that it would probably be the last meal that Samantha cooks in that apartment. It lead to her thinking about the life lessons and experiences and people who gathered at her table while living in that apartment. She told me her first meal she made there, she was by herself and She made a dish that called for 2 adobe peppers….she put 2 cans in it. Needless to say, it went uneaten. She made a wonderful toast before we ate, it brought me to tears. I have a saying written in my kitchen; A good cook knows it’s not what’s on the table that matters, it’s what is in the chairs. She is a good cook! I am so happy that I was there for the last meal there and so sad I was not there for the first meal.

Thai Coconut Curry Mussels, Spicy Tomato Garlic Mussels, Lobster Mac n Cheese and for dessert Gooey Butter Cake.

Thai Coconut Curry Mussels, Spicy Tomato Garlic Mussels, Lobster Mac n Cheese and for dessert Gooey Butter Cake.

Ok, onward to a recipe.

The brussel sprouts at Max Harvest reminded me of a recipe that I have made a couple of times. I have always been nervous to try brussel sprouts. The word on the street was they were yucky! I took the plunge at Paulos at the Mansion a few years ago. Mark actually ordered them. I think I ate most of them. Mark and I both fell in love with them.

I am not sure how brussel sprouts got a bad rap, but it was not with the recipe I am going to share with you.

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Balsamic Syrup< I found this recipe on Just a Taste Blog.

½ pound pancetta (one thick slice), diced (You can buy packages of chopped pancetta at Dierbergs or Trader Joes. That is what I used.)
1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, stems removed, halved
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 cup balsamic vinegar

Toss Brussel sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400ºF oven for about 40 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they do not get over done.

While they’re roasting, sauté the diced pancetta cooking until golden brown. Set aside.

Simmer 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until it reduces by half, about 10 minutes. It will be thick and syrupy.

Remove the roasted Brussels sprouts from the oven and pour the sauteed pancetta (plus any drippings) directly on top of the Brussels sprouts, tossing to combine.

Transfer the mix to a serving platter and drizzle with the balsamic syrup.

Another good brussel sprouts recipe to try is Ina Garten’s Roasted Brussel Sprouts.
It is basically the same recipe minus the Balsamic reduction.
~Relish Food & Life!

Nantucket Cranberry Pie

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You are at the right blog, I thought a change would be nice. What do you think of the new look? I am liking it!

Sorry for being MIA, it has been a busy couple of months. I have so much to share, but not sure where to begin and that is why I have not posted in a while. So, I think I will just share a recipe.

Jim, by cooking buddy sent me this recipe. It is the perfect time of year to make this recipe, since cranberries are in the stores right now. So, if you got a bag of cranberries hanging around, this is a super easy and tasty way to get rid of them. I believe he found the recipe on Food Network Website.

Nantucket Cranberry Pie
  • 2 cups chopped fresh cranberries (I used whole bag and I just realized I did not chop them!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
Spread the cranberries, walnuts and 1/2 cup sugar in the bottom of a 9″ or 10″ cake pan (or skillet or anything else you might have lying around).  Mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl to form a batter.  Pour the batter over the cranberry mixture and bake in an oven preheated to 350 for around 40 minutes.  Cool a bit in the pan, and enjoy
Notes: I used pecans instead of the walnuts (because that is what I had). Jim also used pecans, but used vanilla instead of almond extract. Being the almond lover that I am, I used the almond extract. I think next time, I try sliced almonds in place of the walnuts :)
As you can see, it really does not look like a pie. I think it is more like a coffee cake.
Have you started your Christmas shopping yet or have your decorations all up? I have started shopping, but need to start on the decoration asap!
~Relish Food & Life

Maple, Mustard,Garlic & Rosemary Chicken

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I was looking for something easy for supper last night, so I went to my boards on pinterest. I had pinned this chicken dish, which said it was a Man-Pleasing Chicken! Mark loved it, so I guess it is!

It reminds me of a pork tenderloin dish I like to make. It has rosemary, garlic, honey & balsamic vinegar in the recipe. So good. I will make and post it in the next few weeks.

This recipe come from Witty in the City. She stated in her blog that the recipe was adapted from Trader Joe’s cookbook. I did a search and could not find the recipe, after a minute, I thought I bet I have that cook book..yep I did! TJ has you flour, salt and pepper the chicken and then brown it in olive oil. Mix honey and basil and pour over the chicken and bake.

This way is so much easier and not as messy! Here is my twist to the recipe, it is slightly different from Witty in the City’s version.

Maple, Mustard, Garlic & Rosemary Chicken

  • 1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 cup Maple syrup ( If you want, I think you could substitute with honey)
  • 1 T rice wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T fresh rosemary, minced
  • 5-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs ( You could use breast and they both can be bone in. I assume with skin would also be good, especially if you do TJ method above, coating with flour, salt and pepper and browning before you put in the oven)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Line your pan or glass casserole with aluminum foil, this will make it an easy clean up. Mix all ingredients except chicken. Salt and Pepper both sides of the chicken. Place in pan. Pour sauce over chicken. Toss around a bit so chicken is covered on all sides with the sauce.  Bake at 450 for 30 to 40 minutes. Make sure the chicken temp is 165F. Half way through, baste the chicken with sauce.The time depends on what kind of chicken you use and if it is boneless or not. Let rest for a few minutes. Spoon extra sauce left in pan over the chicken.

First, I was making it according to the recipe on the blog. Mix honey and Dijon mustard together.

Then, I thought why add the rosemary after it is done cooking.

As I was stirring in the Rosemary, I was thinking how this reminded me of the pork tenderloin recipe…that is when I decided garlic would be a tasty addition. I was right, it was!

Line your pan or dish with foil: salt and pepper both sides of chicken. Place in pan.

Pour sauce over the chicken, toss it around a bit so all the chicken gets sauce on it. Pop into the oven.

Maple, Mustard, Garlic and Rosemary Chicken. It was really good and sooo easy!

I know sometimes it is hard to get boneless thighs locally, bigger towns seem to carry them. They are becoming a new favorite.

It was a great dinner. I served it with Potatoes with Cipolline Onions and Rosemary and fresh greens beans tossed with a bit of butter and greek seasoning.

~Relish Food & Life!

BBBB Beer Bread & Basil Butter

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I have been cooking, just not posting. I hope to get back into the swing of things!

Eryn sent me these recipes and boy am I glad she did. They are super easy and very tasty! I am not sure where she found the Beer Bread recipe. There are a ton of them out there on the internet.

Beer Bread

  • 3 cups self rising flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can of room temp beer (All of our beer was in the frig, so it was slightly chilled ;) )
  • 2 T. melted butter, optional (Eryn does not do this step, I seen it used on another recipe and thought I would give it a try. It was tasty.)

Mix everything except the butter;  put in a greased loaf. Drizzle with butter. Bake at 350 for an hour. You can decrease the sugar if too sweet for you.

That is it! How simple is that?

Ingredient Line up for Beer Bread.

Mix beer, self rising flour and sugar.

Pour into a greased bread pan. If you wish, drizzle with butter. Pop into the oven for 1 hour. Simple. Simple. Simple.

Meanwhile, you can whip up a batch of Basil Butter. This is seriously some good stuff! She found this recipe on Foodie Reflections Blog.

Basil Butter

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
  • 1 3 garlic clove, peeled (I upped the garlic because I ♥ Garlic)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Get your food processor out. Add the basil and garlic cloves to the food processor. Process until finely chopped, you might need to scrap the sides to make sure everything is being chopped finely. Add the room temp (room temp is a must) butter and pulse until well blended then season with salt and lemon juice. Serve at room temperature or you can roll into a log with parchment paper and freeze. It should last in frig for 3 days or you can freeze it for a few months.

This is so good on the beer bread, but I have used it on lots of things. I spread it on a french bread, then sprinkle the bread with parmesan cheese; broil. It would be good on pasta, potatoes, chicken, fish, steak, veggies…

Finely chop the garlic and basil in a food processor. Add the butter. Pulse until thoroughly mixed. Add salt and lemon juice. Pulse a few time.

BBBB ~ Beer Bread & Basil Butter. So good.

Is your mouth-watering?

Sorry about disappearing for awhile. I shall try to do better!

Thanks for the recipes, Eryn :)

~Relish Food & Life!