Thursday, December 30, 2010

Food and fun

rapini - my favourite green

fresh egg noodles for christmas lunch

if you think turkey and stuffing is great, the next day it's even better. boil up the turkey carcass, add some arborio rice and tomato sauce and enjoy the best risotto ever

rapini again this time cooked up with lots of garlic and chilies and cornmeal - green polenta. it doesn't get any better then this

gnocchi leftovers

besides eating and visiting we managed to do some shopping. discovered two yarn shops downtown and found some great stuff on sale.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'll be home for Christmas

Last night was Christmas for us as I prepare to head up north. Mr Cowboy roasted our first ever fresh organic turkey. It was the best turkey I have ever eaten. With his Mom's cranberry sauce and chocolate brown gravy, it was quite the feast.
Today the girls made the traditional cranberry sour cream pound cake for me. This cake travels really well.

And it wouldn't be Christmas without a visit to Pine Street.
This year I finally used the huge copper snowflake cookie cutters. I used Martha Stewart's recipe and it is great. One reason I like it is that black pepper is one of the spices in the cookies and I love black pepper.
Little surprises are always nice. I now have new earrings to wear for Christmas. Not just any earrings, these are button earrings. Thank you so much,Shelly. And Merry Christmas to everyone.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The secret

I have always enjoyed making fruit pies; as long as the crust is easy to handle, the rest is a piece of cake. I'm not sure where I got the recipe for my pie crusts ( I think it was from Martha Stewart) but it is a dream to mix up and roll out. Rustic pies are my favourite - one crust filled to overflowing with apples and then the edges folded up any which way. Now when Maura makes a pie using my recipe (see above) she never has a problem with juice spilling out into the oven. When you cut into her pie, there isn't a drop of juice. The pie is fantastic but I have not been able to find out her secret.

Especially for Shelly

The first thing I'm going to do this spring is buy a lemon tree or maybe we'll need two at the rate that we go through this versatile fruit. Besides making delectable lemon squares, these golden orbs clean everything in the house plus when it's hot lemonade is the best thing to quench your thirst.

This recipe is so simple, yet so good.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Weekend collage

From my favourite thrift store, months ago, but just using it now for the first time, just to brighten the table.
Sometimes Mr. Cowboy surprises himself and us with his culinary skills; these meatballs with gravy were fantastic.

Sunday morning we awoke to a quiet world, new snow blanketing the hills and trees and the birdfeeder. We were enclosed in the clouds and it was dreamy.
It's not summer which is the only time I have pesto from my own garden but did you know that it comes in a jar?
An early Christmas present for Mr. Cowboy, a place to lounge and take a nap after all the gruelling hours spent in the kitchen.
A lovely plant for the dining room in my favourite shade of white.

Bucatini is my favourite pasta so I tried a new recipe; roasted butternut squash in a white sauce with lots of cheese plus sage from the garden and a sprinkling of pecans. It is a keeper!

The tree is up thanks to the girls for doing all the work. This last picture, which did not turn out too well, is one of the most beautiful ornaments that we have on the tree.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Family dinners

As soon as I walk in the door at night, my glasses immediately fog up. As I shed my jacket, scarf, gloves, and sweaters I take a deep breath - the aromas wafting towards me from the kitchen hint at the wonderful dinner waiting for me. Everyone is in the kitchen doing their part while I hover and try not to get in anyone's way. We dish out and for a few minutes there is complete silence. After a few bites, everyone recounts a little of their day. The stories vary from what happened today to what happened in Korea, India, or Italy. My stories are different but everyone patiently listens knowing this is something I must do. The restorative powers of family dinners.

Monday, November 29, 2010

High school snickerdoodles

I was thirteen when I had my first taste of snickerdoodles; junior high school cooking class. Loaded with butter, shortening, and sugar and then rolled in a sugar-cinnamon mixture, those first cookies were like none other I had ever tasted before. Never thought that they could be improved or made even more addictive, but somebody out there decided to add cocoa to this vintage recipe. When you bite into a chocolate snickerdoodle, brownie is the first thought that comes to mind. A very rich cookie, this recipe will have to be filed under 'the once in a blue moon' category.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Random Italia

Had lunch with a very dear friend today; Italy came up and for a few minutes I relived the excitement, the frustrations, and the sheer bliss of our trip.
One of my favourite days - my last day in Roma wandering from one fountain to a piazza to a church to a ruin all in the matter of hours with just my map and the sun to guide me.
To the very quiet countryside where time passes gently.
At a train station we sit on the edge of a koi pond. As the train approaches we all get up with dripping wet jackets.
What is with my fascination with corks?
This bench was in front of a pub which we never got to in Levanto. Something to look forward to.
Just across from the convent in Orvieto, a palazzo. Maura has such an eye for detail.
One of my favourite actors of all time.
We watched this twice in Italia; once in Orvieto in Italian with no subtitles and then again in Roma in English with Italian subtitles.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jenny in Venezia

I had no desire to go to Venezia on this trip but I'm so glad we did. Walking through the garden and home of Peggy Guggenheim was an unforgettable day. My favourite room was the dining room - a dark, heavy, and smooth to the touch table (yes, I ran my hand along the wood)was centered in the room with mismatched chairs. The table had more prescence then the Picasso hanging on one of the walls. But in the garden I was drawn to a bench - from far away it looked like an ordinary stone bench but as I got closer I realized that it was a great art piece.

So glad I went to Venezia.