Wow ~ Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction...

This dish didn't "wow" anyone for Thanksgiving.  Aren't you surprised?  Look at them, they are gorgeous.  Well, these aren't the ones I made for then, these were tonight's version.  I kept mulling over why the brussel sprouts didn't work as well as I expected.  So tonight, I tried them again.  And boy did they "wow" me.  I figured out what step I left off.   I have been reading all over the internet about brussel sprouts and balsamic vinegar, and bought aged balsamic.  Just a simple roast of the veggies and toss with the vinegar.  And magic, they "pop" in your mouth.  They didn't.....  So back to the drawing board I went.  I decided to reduce the balsamic and try again.  And voila, they are a show stopper for sure now.  It's all in the reduction sauce folks.  So even if you have the best balsamic, reduce it to a rich syrup and you will dance for joy.  The brussel sprouts and your guests will thank you.  ;)

No recipe really, just trim, cut the sprouts in half (no matter what size), toss with about 1 tablespoon of salt and about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Roast at 425 F., for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven, turn sprouts over and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, take 1/2 cup of good balsamic vinegar and place in a small sauce pan.  Turn stove to medium and let cook and reduce down for about 10 minutes, stirring all the while.  Shut off stove.

Remove sprouts from oven, toss with 1/2 of the reduction sauce and plate.  Use the other half of reduction to drizzle around the platter.

And guess what?  They "pop".  They "wow".  And they are absolutely a gorgeous side dish....


Adapted Corn Casserole - Paula Deen

This was such a hit on my Thanksgiving table.  Everyone raved about it, and why not, it's full of delicious things.  But I upped the ante and made it with more than just the "Jiffy Corn Casserole" that Paula has made.

Paula's is really good, but I decided to tweak it a bit since we were having extra for dinner.  Adding more corn and a  jalapeno pepper made this dish stand out.  But whichever way you make it, it will be a nice addition to any dinner. And the best part?  It's one of those dishes that takes two minutes to make.  How great is that?

(15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

  • 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn

  •  1 lb. pkg. shoe peg frozen corn

  • 1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix ( Jiffy)

  • 1 extra large egg

  • 12 ounces sour cream

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  •  1 jalapeno pepper, minced

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    2. In a large bowl, stir together the two cans of corn and frozen corn, jalapeno pepper, corn muffin mix, sour cream, 1 cup of shredded cheese, egg and melted butter. Stir well. Pour into a greased 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes, covered with aluminum foil.  Remove from oven, remove foil.  Sprinkle second cup of shredded cheddar on top of casserole, place back in the oven uncovered for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.

    Serve warm.

    Enjoy ~



    My sister's favorite pie ~ Pumpkin pie

    And it's right off the side of a can of pumpkin!  Ssshh... don't tell her.  It's absolutely delicious too, although I do blind bake my pie crust beforehand. Most recipes for pumpkin pie don't call for blind baking the pie crust.  But I find a huge difference with the baking the pie crust on it's own first, it's so flaky not soggy at all. 

    Here's the recipe, and if you choose do like I did, use store bought, roll out refrigerator pie crust.   Serve with a little whipped cream on top and no one will notice the short cuts.  Simple, easy and delicious.  How great is that?

    • 1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust (blind baking directions posted below)
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 (15 ounce) can 100% Pure Pumpkin
    • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can Evaporated Milk


    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
    2. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.
    3. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.)

    Nutritional Information open nutritional information

    Amount Per Serving Calories: 283 | Total Fat: 12.1g | Cholesterol: 65mg

    Here is the way I blind bake a pie shell:

    To blind bake a crust, once your crust is prepared and placed in your pie plate, cover with foil and fill it with pie weights, and bake for 12 minutes at 425 degrees.  Take out of oven and remove foil and weights.  Dock the pie bottom and sides and return to oven at 375 for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool before filling with your pumpkin mixture.  Fill pie shell with pumpkin mixture and either put aluminum foil around edges or use a pie shield and bake as directed.

    Enjoy ~ 

    Delicious Turkey Stock with a bonus...

    I make a great turkey stock each November and freeze it to make turkey gravy, with the extra going into my stuffing for the bird.  Although in recent years, I make the stuffing in a seperate gratin dish. The ingredients are simple enough and it sits on the stove for a couple of hours simmer for 2 hours.  So how easy is that?

    Yields about 1 gallon of exquisite, gelantinous Turkey stock.

    Here is what I put into my 6 quart staub:

    3 Turkey drumsticks (add after the water comes to a boil)
    4 Turkey neck bones (add after the water comes to a boil)
    1 onion, cut in half, skin left on (it deepens the color)
    3 large carrots, cut in thirds
    4 large celery stalks, with leave, cut in thirds
    2 large bay leaves
    5 whole peppercorns
    1 head of garlic, cut in half, horizontally
    1 Tablespoon of Kosher Salt

    Place everything except the meat intothe bottom of your Dutch Oven. Fill with cold water up to about 1" in from the top of the pot.  Place it on the stove and let it come to a boil.  Place meat into the pot. Turn down the stove to low and let simmer for 2 hours with the lid placed off center.  Stir a couple of times during the cooking part.  At the end of the two hours, shut off stove and let sit covered for another hour.  Remove the meat and let everything cool off.  Adjust your seasoning here.  It might need a little more salt. Take out large pieces of vegetables and strain into a large bowl.  

    Here's the bonus part that came to me quite accidentally.  I left my very largest bowl at my nieces' house over the summer.... so I strained it into my second 6 qt. Staub dutch oven.  And invert the lid on the pot.  Like my great idea?  (I'm very cleaver you know)  ;-)

    Why not leave it in the Staub overnight in the fridge and the skim it in the morning?  It's all enamel afterall.  So, I did.  And now, the bonus.  Imagine uncovering the stock and finding that it had skimmed itself? Well almost, just about a tablespon was left to skim from my stock.  Oh my...... yes, I loved it.  Just perfect.

    Ta-dah, like magic... :-)  Now this was a happy sight for me and a very welcomed time saver.  And the clean-up was a cinch too.  Just run the lid under hot, soapy water and voila....

    I should sell my idea to the Staub people, don't you think?  Hahaha.

    Enjoy ~


    White Chocolate Bark with Cranberries and Pistachios ~ Ina Garten

    I love Ina Garten for many reasons.  I bumped into her show many years ago on Food Network and never stopped watching.  She has shown me many entertaining tips, lots of lucious recipes and much more.  When I watch or read anything about her house in the Hamptons, or apartments in Paris or NYC, I drool.  Who wouldn't?  What a gorgeous life right?  And Jeffrey, her husband?  Very, very cute too.  They make such a great couple, always laughing and joking around with each other.  When Jeffrey is on Ina's show, it's even more fun than her other guests.

    How about that barn addition?  Did it make you green with envy?  Yes, yes, I know.  The grass is always greener and all of that.  But, I sure would like to switch lives with her, but only for one day.  Well, perhaps a week, if I could stay in her apartment in Paris.  ;)

    Ina has great, yet easy recipes too.  And this one has a "wow" factor and is so simple to make, it's almost embarrassing to give them as gifts.  But I do.  I get those little celephane packages and a great piece of ribbon and tie a few of the piece of bark up.  Voila.  Spectacular.  Give this White Chocolate Bark to family, friends or co-workers and they will think you have slaved all day.  And they are so yummy that you have to keep a couple of pieces for yourself to have.

    With the Holidays around the corner, it's nice to have a plate of these on hand too.  I doubled the cranberries and left out the apricots.  Enjoy ~

    Here's a link to the recipe on FTV:


    Thai Cooking Class in Boston ~

    A couple of friends and I took a Thai Noodle Class at the Boston Center for Adult Education.  I have been wanting to take a Thai cooking class for awhile now.  I love to eat Thai food, but wanted to make some dishes at home and don't know much about this particular region of cooking.  Here's my two cents worth, run, don't walk and take a class.  The regional flavors are wonderful and with a little instruction, you can make a few simple dishes at home.

    The first dish we made was Noodle Curry.  And while this dish was so simple, having the curry sauce recipe is the key.  Tastes just like the most delicious ones I have had at Thai restaurants.  Look at this color.

    Just gorgeous...

    And the magic ingredient?

    This little can.....  Karee curry paste in a small, tuna sized can.

    Easy as pie to make.  One can of coconut milk, one can of water and one can of curry paste.

    Another favorite of mine, Pad Thai...

    We also made Pad See-Ew

    And my friend's favorite, Drunken Noodle, which I didn't get a picture of, but will post a couple of recipes at a later date.

    Some of the products we used that were unfamilar to me, so I took a picture of them for authenticity.  Rice Noodle.  I only know the kind that is in my grocery store, but will head to an Asian Market for these.  The instructor says to leave them out soaking for about 45 minutes.

    And a small amount of preserved turnip, which is actually called sweet radish, chopped.

    The class was very informative, food was delicious and the company of friends?  Wonderful, just a wonderful night ~

    Here's Dustin, our assistant chef.