Tag Archives: life

Baked Eggs with Kale and Smoked Salmon

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Happy Friday! I am a couple of weeks late with this Cook the Book Fridays recipe, but I have a good excuse: I had a pretty big surgery the day before the post was due. I managed to cook the recipe before my surgery, but I was too busy preparing for surgery to get the post written.

First off, I’m fine! My surgery was not for a life-threatening reason and I am recovering well. I have more and more energy each day, but I do have to take it easy for a few more weeks. I will not be making the November Cook the Book Fridays recipes (but I will definitely make them up at a later date because they look delicious!). Since I need to rest more than usual, I have had extra time for knitting, so maybe you will see some finished projects!

One thing I was busy doing while preparing for my surgery, was making a bunch of meals for the freezer. It has been so nice to have easy, yet tasty, meals already prepared! If there is interest, I might share some of my techniques and recipes with you since I won’t be doing the CTBF posts this month.

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So, let’s talk about the recipe: Baked Eggs with Kale and Smoked Salmon. This was an easy, elegant meal. The eggs were baked on a bed of sauteed kale, along with smoked salmon, goat cheese, a little heavy cream, and the wonderful garlic bread crumbs (which I confess I ate quite a few of before even sprinkling them on anything). Like others, I found the eggs took longer to cook than the recipe suggests, but they did cook more quickly when I brought the eggs to room temperature before baking.

We liked this. My husband ate dinner later than me the night I made this, but it was easy to assemble his in advance and pop it in the oven when he was ready. I am not sure I would buy the ingredients just to make these baked eggs, but it is a good way to use up leftover greens or smoked salmon.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and I look forward to catching up with my fellow Cook the Book Fridays friends!

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Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse

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Happy Friday! Well, it was a happy Friday until my day fell apart. It all started off well enough. I got some things done around the house while I waited for a yard guy to come and give me an estimate for some work. The guy came, I liked him, I started working on this blog post. While I was eating my lunch I got a call from my daughter’s teacher. There was a minor situation that required me to run up to the school. I had to reschedule an appointment with another yard guy because he was due to arrive before I would have time to get back. On the way to school, my car started acting up. Shaking and the check engine light flashing. I limped back home, and Google tells me it’s a cylinder mis-firing and that I shouldn’t drive the car until it gets fixed. Why do these things happen on Friday?

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Luckily I have the memory of this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe to keep my spirits up. We made Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse, and boy was it good!

The recipe starts off by having you make caramel. David’s instructions for the caramel were excellent; I knew just when to pull it off the heat. Next the chocolate is whisked into the caramel with a bit of fleur de sel. After cooling to room temperature, the eggs are folded in. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting 8 hours before eating it!

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The flavor and texture of this mousse is just fantastic. The salted caramel adds wonderful complexity to the flavors. It was a big hit with my family, and may become my new go-to chocolate mousse recipe (sorry, Dorie!).

My day is looking up. My husband is bringing his car home so I can drive my daughter to PT, and we have a fun evening and weekend planned. I’ll just ignore my car sitting out there until Monday…

Have a great weekend, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers!

You can find the recipe for Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse on page 258 of David Lebovitz’s book My Paris Kitchen.

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Hurry-up-and-Wait Roast Chicken

Roast Chicken, Potatoes, and Delicata Squash

Roast Chicken, Potatoes, and Delicata Squash

I felt off-kilter all week.  My daughter has not been sleeping well (a common problem among children with autism), so we’ve been sleeping in a bit to catch up on our sleep.  This, of course, causes our mornings to be rushed.  On top of that, she had early release from school all week for parent-teacher conferences.  So I spent the entire week feeling like I was behind and running out of time.

The most pitiful day was Friday:  We again slept in and had to rush to get out the door on time.  Since getting my daughter fed and ready for school is the highest priority, my own readiness takes a back seat.  With minutes to go before we had to leave, I ran into my room to get dressed.  I grabbed a pair of jeans and a t-shirt out of the laundry basket and threw them on.  I grabbed the socks I had tossed on the floor next to the bed during the night.  I figured after my shower later I would put clean clothes and socks on.  Except I never had time for my shower on Friday.  At the end of the day, I found myself still wearing my laundry basket outfit.  Darn!

Next week is looking up.  School goes back to a normal schedule, which should help with the sleeping a bit.  And even if it doesn’t, I will have more time during the day to catch my breath and get something done.

Chicken Dinner

Chicken Dinner

This was the perfect week for Hurry-up-and-Wait Roast Chicken, this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe (it’s actually more of a technique than a recipe).  Roast chicken is a low effort/high reward meal, and a favorite in our house.  Leftovers were used in a casserole that lasted us two nights.  Awesome!

There are two things different about this recipe:  the chicken is placed on it’s side for the first part of the roasting period, then turned onto it’s other side for a bit, and finally roasts on it’s back for the last 10 minutes or so.  After removing the chicken from the oven, it is placed breast-side down with it’s legs propped in the air to help the juices settle back into the breast.

Upside-down Chicken

Upside-down Chicken

I didn’t care for all the turning of the chicken.  It was a bit awkward, and  the skin did not get as crispy as I like.  On the other hand, the upside-down resting period did result in nice, juicy breasts so I would use that part of the technique again.  Regardless of the awkwardness, it was delicious chicken!

 

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The Washer and Dryer That Could

See that washer and dryer up there? That’s what we’ve been using for the last 11 and a half years. Before that they belonged to my parents. They bought them in 1976 or 1977, which makes them about 35 years old.  I was 6 or 7 when they were purchased.

Before they bought this washer/dryer set, my parents owned a small set that fit in the apartment we had been living in. The washer did not have a conventional hookup. My mom actually had to roll the washer into the kitchen on laundry day and hook it up to the kitchen sink. My dad built a wooden ramp so she could roll it up a step and out of the laundry room. Mom would pile loads of laundry on the kitchen counter and stove waiting to go in the washer. Once she accidentally burned a towel by placing it on a hot burner. I’m sure she was happy when they finally bought a washer she could leave in the laundry room!

The washer and dryer served my family well, but began to show their age. When I was about to get married in 2000, my parents decided it was time to get a new washer/dryer set. They offered the old ones to my husband-to-be and I since we would be loading up a moving truck anyway to haul my stuff down to Reno. We said, “Yes”! We figured even if they only lasted a few months, it would be nice to not have to buy a set immediately after we got married and settled into our new place.

The first place my husband and I lived had the washer/dryer hookups in the garage. Not ideal, but we were happy not to have to go to a laundromat. When we bought our house the washer and dryer came with us and moved into a proper laundry room.

The washer and dryer have been on their last legs for a while now, but they still kept chugging along. On Friday I discovered that my load of laundry was not dry even after a couple of hours in the dryer. They weren’t even warm. Finally time to be replaced!

I am looking forward to my new washer and dryer. It will be nice to have some modern features and they will certainly be more energy efficient.  But I doubt the new set will last us nearly as long as our trusty old Maytags.

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Infamous Crab Dip (A Christmas Memory)

Growing up, we spent Christmas Eve at my Grandma’s house.  In my Dad’s family, they always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, so we continued that tradition.  First we would go to late afternoon church services and then we headed to Grandma’s house (which sometimes involved a song about going over the river and through the snow).

When we arrived at Grandma’s house my sister and I were allowed to open one small present each, but then we had to wait until after dinner until the real present-opening began.  When we were younger, the wait through dinner was torturous!  I’m sure we were pretty obnoxious about it.

Grandma always made the same thing for dinner: ham, scalloped potatoes, jello salad, and angel food cake for dessert.  But the thing we enjoyed the most was her “Infamous Crab Dip” that she served as an appetizer.

Grandma stopped hosting Christmas Eve about 8 years ago and none of us have had her crab dip since.  When I hosted Grandma and the rest of my family for Thanksgiving this year, I thought it would be fun to serve her crab dip.  It was a big hit and as good as we remembered!

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!!

I was lucky to have my Dad bring a fresh piece of horseradish from his garden!

Infamous Crab Dip

(click here to print)

  • 1 can (6½ oz) crab meat, drained
  • 6 0z cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish (grated fresh or jarred)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper sauce (like Tabasco)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Spoon into a small ovenproof baking dish.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until heated through (I find it takes a little longer…).  Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

Makes about 1¼ cups.

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Buckwheat Blini with Smoked Salmon (An Anniversary Celebration)

I love celebrating special occasions and milestones with food.  Whether it’s a special homemade meal or a nice dinner out, good food is always involved.  Cooking special meals for my family is an expression of love to me.  But I also enjoy a good meal where I don’t have to cook!

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Buckwheat Blini with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche, happened to coincide with our wedding anniversary (11 years!) so I decided it would make the perfect appetizer for a special anniversary dinner.

I have never eaten blini before.  They are pretty much a yeasted pancake made with part buckwheat flour.  The buckwheat adds a whole lot of flavor.  Topped with smoked salmon, crème fraîche, and a bit of fresh dill, they make a very sophisticated appetizer.

I really liked the combination of flavors.  I didn’t let my crème fraîche get quite thick enough, but it still tasted good.  My husband thought they were OK, but felt the salmon would be better just on a cracker.

The rest of our meal was lovely as well.  We had Roast Chicken for les Paresseux with potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Marjoram and Pine Nuts.  For dessert we had Split-Level Pudding from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking: From My Home to Yours (while I’m not a participant in Tuesdays with Dorie, I’ve seen enough TWD posts to convince me to buy the book!).

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Where Have I Been?

Wow!  Where did August go?  I could tell early in the month that it was going to be busy, so I made the decision not to blog for the rest of the month.  That way I didn’t have to feel stressed or guilty that I wasn’t finding time to post.  I just let it go…

So, what was I up to in August?  The month started with a lovely vacation to the Oregon Coast with my entire family.  Fun and relaxing!  Then my daughter was home from school with me full-time for summer break.  She keeps me busy and on my toes!  Add to that some all-consuming drama with the school district right before school started, and I didn’t have much free time.  Things have settled down and my daughter is back in school, so I’m back!

Here are some of the things I have in store for you for the next few weeks:

  • I will get back to my French Fridays with Dorie posts, including a “catch-up” post with all the things I made in August.
  • I want to tell you more about my vacation and share a family favorite recipe.
  • I have a couple of sewing projects in the works.  I may even do my first sewing tutorial!
  • Elaine from California Living invited me play a game called “Seven Links”.  It looks like a fun way to review past posts, so I will try to play soon.

I will leave you with a few recent pictures of the vegetable garden:

Cucumbers, green beans, basil...and a few other random veggies.

Freshly harvested Yukon Gold potatoes (and a stray Red Pontiac). I got about 3 pounds total!

Tomatoes!

A small harvest including four San Marzano tomatoes.

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A Big Storm Knocked it Over

We had a big wind storm yesterday and one of our trees got blown over.  Thankfully it landed across the road and did not hit any houses, cars or people.

I am very impressed with the city.  Shortly after the tree fell they arrived to clear it off the street.  The guys from the parks department removed all the branches and put them through a chipper.  Then they cut the trunk into manageable-sized pieces and placed them neatly in our yard.  They even swept up the sawdust!  All this was completed in less than two hours after the tree fell.

Here are some pictures of what is left of our tree.  And yes, that is snow on the ground.  You can click on each picture for a bigger view.

Roots

The roots came up...

Side View

Logs

The logs left by the parks guys

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