Monthly Archives: March 2014

Another Fabulous Weekend In Prescott Arizona

Oh my gravy all over my two scoops rice, as you all know by now, that’s OMG! in my world.  When we visit Mister and Missus Dear Friend in Prescott Arizona, we eat very well  and this visit was no exception.

For dinner, we all went to a new place, well for us anyways…

Papa’s Uptown in downtown historic Prescott.

WOW WOW WOW!

What a super cute place.  It reminded me of the old-school American Italian restaurants.  Loads of food, fresh, tasty, and no one was trying to bum-rush you out the door.  If you go, be sure to make a resveration and ask to sit in the front portion of the restaurant.

Both of the guys are Calabrese American Italians, so having Sicilian foods was different for us.  I didn’t get a photo of the minestrone that Momma brought around to our table for us to try, so rather than a salad with our meals, we ordered the soup.  We waddled back to the car VERY slowly and made our way home.

 

Sunday Brunch was at the Prescott Station, also in downtown historic Prescott. We have eaten here many, many times and it never disappoints.  I should say that there was one disappointment in this trip, Missus Dear Friend was not feeling well and did not join us for brunch.

As Mister DF said as we parted ways to drive back home, “we do have alot of great places to eat here in Prescott, don’t we?”

You sure do, we’ll be back soon!

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Meyer Lemon Curd, YUM!

Years back, I use to watch Martha Stewart’s television programs and then, well you know, things happened.  One particular episode, I recall her making Lemon Curd and I thought that someday I’d try that.

My darling husband goes nuts for Lemon Meringue Pie and don’t ya know, that’s what’s in the middle of it (shhh, please don’t tell him that, he claims to HATE curd, “that sounds gross”).

I found some more Meyer Lemons of all places, at Walmart, so here goes.

Auntie’s Meyer Lemon Pie Filling

12 Egg Yolks (freeze the whites in two separate containers for later use, like frosting for a cake)

2 C granulated Sugar

6 Meyer Lemons, juiced (approx. 1 C of juice, no seeds please)

2 sticks of Butter, diced

Zest from the Meyer Lemons

This recipe makes approximately 2 pints.

In a metal or glass bowl (heat-proof), whisk the egg yolks and sugar.  Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.  Pour in the juice and stir continually with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon for about 10-15 minutes, until the mixture thickens.  Make sure not to allow the mixture to boil.  Add the butter and stir until melted and well incorporated.  Whisk in the reserved zest.

Carefully pour the curd into sterilized jars, best to use half pints or smaller mason jars, leaving ½ inch of head space.  With a damp paper towel, wipe the rim of the jars and seal with the lids and rings.

If you would like to ‘put up’ your bounty for later consumption, process them in boiling water for 20 minutes, allow to cool overnight and store for up to one year (if they last that long).

Should you not feel so inclined to ‘can’ your curd, simply cool and then refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

I gotta tell ya, the smell in the house was heavenly.  I got 4 half pint jars and then half of a 5th jar that I stashed in the `fridge for toast the next morning.  Not shown here was a huge dollop of Meyer Lemon Curd in my yogurt the following morning.

 

** Edit-2/2017- I was reading about dairy based canning recently; It is now recommended that instead of using the Water Bath method, Pressure Canning or Freezing is the preferred technique. **

A~MAZ~ING BREAD

From time to time, our niece (well, we call her that `cuz she’s married to my husband’s brother’s son), Mary Elizabeth and I video-chat; she was telling and SHOWING me this great bread that her husband had made for the family. She sent me the recipe from this gal’s blog site, and as I’m reading the recipe I’m thinking to myself, this doesn’t sound right to me, but we’ll give it a whirl.

The Family’s Amazing Bread

3 C AP flour

1 ¾ tsp Course Kosher Salt

½ tsp Active Yeast

1 ½ C Water, divided

Pinch of granulated Sugar

In a small bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar with ¼ of warm water (no hotter than 105⁰), let stand for about 5 minutes, until the yeast activates (gets foamy).

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt with a whisk or fork.

Add in the yeast mixture and remaining water (room temperature) and mix well with a rubber spatula.

The dough will be VERY sticky.

Cover with plastic wrap and leave sit at room temp for 12 to 18 hours.

Preheat the oven @ 450⁰ with an enamel cast iron dutch oven or any other oven safe pot with a well fitting lid (I own a Le Creuset as well as a Tramontina from Walmart, way cheaper!) in it for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, turn the now risen dough out on to a well floured surface, remember, it’s still very sticky; shape the dough in a boule and let it rest for that 30 minutes.  Cover with that plastice wrap (no need to get more) that was coving the bowl earlier, as to not form a skin on the dough.

DING!  The 30 minutes are up, now carefully remove the pot from the oven, taking off the lid and place the dough in to the now SCREAMING HOT pot; cover and bake for 30 minutes.

DING!  The next 30 minutes are up, now remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes.

Remove your masterpiece from the dutch oven and cool on a wire rack for a couple of minutes (my husband’s hardest couple of minutes today) before slicing and then completely prior to storing.

I add a half of a cup of coarsely grated Parmesan cheese to the dough as it was resting for added flavor.  You make it your own with what your family likes.

Hors d’oeuvres Anyone?

This past weekend, my husband and I invited my Mother to our home so that we could do her taxes for her. Yes, it’s that time of year again, and my fantastic DH  is just a wiz with numbers, well maybe with just a little help from Turbo Tax.

I was rummaging through our deep freeze, looking for something to turn into an appetizer for us all while we worked. We had planned on going out to dinner, seeing as the weather was suppose to be nasty and I wouldn’t be able to grill anything (mom’s fav is my teriyaki chicken and assorted Asian veggies).

I totally forgot that I had bought these at Trader Joe’s a couple of weeks back just for this purpose. Sometimes you need to have a late afternoon snack or maybe folks drop by. I honestly thought that this Camembert cheese with cranberry sauce wrapped in fillo would be super, meh. As you can see, the cheese mostly melted out, bummer!

Now, the Arancini bites stuffed with fontina cheese were a big  hit with both mom and I, the Mister not so much. I had some leftover marinara sauce in the `fridge for a dipping sauce, add a glass of wine…YUM!

(btw, we aren’t going to talk about our dinner out, it wasn’t very good)

ALOHA!

Yay! A Day Trip

I finally convinced my DH to take me up to the greater Phoenix area for an excursion.

Our local ‘Asian market’, that is almost an hour’s drive away, has had very little of my regular items in stock for the past, oh I don’t know TWO YEARS! This has been very bothersome. I found that there is a sister store in Chandler, let’s go!

On one of our drives back home from Northern Arizona, I noticed that a restaurant that we really liked while we were in Albuquerque was now opened in Chandler, HMMM! That could work, so off we went.

LET'S GO!

Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q

OH MY GRAVY ALL OVER MY TWO SCOOPS RICE!!  That’s OMG! In my world…

This is piggy heaven, for sure!

Rudy’s is Texas-style Q, which I myself adore; DH, well did I tell you that he’s a fantastic husband.

What you have here is a half pound each of moist beef brisket, pork loin, turkey breast, half a bird (chicken), Rudy’s beans, potato salad, cole slaw and of course please, keep the sauce on the side.  And NO, we didn’t eat this all, we took a lot of it home for dinner that night, as well as a sandwich the next day.

MAN! That’s good eats!

Now, what good BBQ doesn’t have a beer? Yes please!  I had a bottle and DH had water, he was the designated driver afterall.

This was a great afternoon of shopping and eating combined; what more do you need?

National Meatball Day

Today, in the United States, it’s National Meatball Day.

We will be celebrating tonight at our dinner table.

Homemade Marinara

A few weeks back, I ‘put up’ some marinara made with San Marzano tomatoes, along with the usual partners in a jar… sautéed sweet white onions, loads of minced garlic, tomato paste, dried oregano, basil, marjoram, grated Parmesan cheese, fresh chopped flat leaf parsley and lastly S&P. That huge pot simmers for a couple of hours, so why not make a lot of it, right? And then simply divvy it up into sterilized canning jars and process for 20 minutes, cool for 12 hours and then stash for later consumption or sharing with others.

Meatballs!

Now for the meat of the meal, HA HA!

When I make these cuties, I use one pound each of ground Chuck, Veal and bulk hot Italian Sausage. Add in about a cup of homemade bread crumbs (make your own from leftover, stale bread and keep in a zip-top bag hidden away in the freezer-that way you know what’s in your food) soaked in just enough milk as to be not too soupy; a beaten egg, a palmful of grated Parmesan cheese, about a tablespoon each of dried oregano and basil, some fresh chopped flat leaf parsley (we like a lot of it), as much garlic as you want, again, we like a lot and then lastly S&P to taste (easy on the salt, you put in cheese, `member?). Give it a good mix up and then create your master piece.

I like to portion the meatballs out using a cookie scoop or disher to ensure even sizing. Then place the uncooked meatballs on to a sheet pan and into the chest freezer overnight. This is my version of IQF. In the morning, I put all of those now frozen nuggets into a zip-top bag and then back into the deep freezer for later, or as the case maybe tonight’s supper.

Final step for a lovely meal, bring the marinara to a simmer and toss in your desired amount of meatballs and continue to simmer until the meat reaches 165⁰, or about 20-30 minutes if they’re frozen (no need to defrost). Serve with the pasta shape that your family enjoys or what about as a sandwich?

MANGIAMO!

Auntie Doni’s Marinara

28oz. can whole-peeled San Marzano Tomatoes

1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste

Small white Onion, minced

3-4 Garlic cloves, minced

¼ C. fresh Flat Leaf or Italian Parsley, chopped

¼ C. Parmesan Cheese, grated

2 Tbsp. dried Oregano

1 Tbsp. each dried Basil and Marjoram

Salt & Pepper to taste

Sauté the onions in a large pot, over medium heat until translucent. Add the minced garlic, stirring until fragrant; add the tomato paste and cook until it also is fragrant. Add in the dried herbs, stir them in for just a minute, next goes in the remaining ingredients. Using a stick blender, crush the tomatoes to your desired smoothness (you can always crush them by hand in a bowl before putting into the pot too). Simmer partially covered for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Meatballs Our Way

1 lb. each Ground Beef and Veal

1 lb. bulk Hot (or mild) Italian Sausage

1 C. Breadcrumbs

2-4 Tbsp. Milk, just enough to moisten the breadcrumbs

2-4 cloves of Garlic, minced

¼ C. Parmesan Cheese, grated

2-4 Tbsp. fresh Flat Leaf or Italian Parsley, chopped

1 Egg, beaten

1 Tbsp. each, dried Oregano and Basil

Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large bowl, soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients, mix well and portion out your meatballs, evenly. Cook as desired, freeze or even refrigerate for later use.

*Remember, a recipe is just someone else’s idea. Run with it and make it your own.

My Obsession Continues On

Yup, I love aprons, I’m pretty sure I mentioned this before. My husband thinks that this is extremely old fashion and that I should give them up, but I can’t.

When I step into my kitchen in the middle of the desert, I need to have an apron on! I don’t feel right without one, plus I detest getting messy.

... not the best photo, but meh...

… not the best photo, but meh…

This is my most recent acquisition from Crooked Brook, love them! Veronica was an angel, helping me through the ordering process. I wanted an apron similar to the one worn by Sara Moulton. Well, I took the plunge and I LOVE IT! This fits me like a glove, did I say this is custom made to MOI!

I was so tired of bib aprons that gape in the front and I wind up getting the front of my shirts stained beyond belief.

Hmmm, my birthday is coming up, maybe I can get another?