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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cream Cheese and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

Nothing can set the mood for a great day off better than a delicious breakfast.  This morning I decided to make stuffed french toast.  I added a layer of fresh strawberries to lighten things up a bit (and to make a dent in the 5 lb supply I impulsively bought this week).  This recipe comes together in a snap but has enough sophistication to be a great choice for Mother's Day brunch.  The filling is sweet enough that no syrup is necessary, but a sprinkle of powdered sugar really sets the whole thing off. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Spring was imitating summer this week with temperatures in the 90's.  When people started showing up to court and daisy dukes I knew it was officially OK to make my favorite summer fruit pie.  Strawberry Rhubarb pie is a perfect blend of sweet and tart.  It's nearly criminal not to enjoy your first slice hot, messy, and topped with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream which is exactly what we did last night.  It doesn't hurt that the filling is the exact vibrant pink color my inner 7 year old wants to wear every day.  The best part of all is that the filling is so darn simple you'll be putting the pie in the oven in no time flat.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cloverleaf Rolls

There's nothing quite like a soft yeasty roll straight from the oven to remind you that sometimes the simple pleasures are the best.  Our hectic schedules rarely allow most of us to enjoy bread straight from the oven more than a couple times a year.  When you do decide the occasion warrants fresh rolls, it'd be a real pity not to give these a chance.  These rolls are easy to put together (though it's a bit time consuming to measure out 72 little balls of dough) and freeze wonderfully.  They're a perfect complement to any holiday meal or any non-holiday meal you'd like to make feel a little special.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Deviled Eggs

Growing up my family wasn't very religious but we always made sure to celebrate Easter.  On the Saturday before Easter my mom and I would decorate what felt like dozens of eggs.  A few eggs wound up in our Easter baskets, but most ended up being used for the deviled eggs we would eat at Easter dinner.  Though I've (mostly) outgrown any interest in decorating eggs, deviled eggs still haven't lost their luster.

If you do a google search for deviled eggs you'll quickly find out that people have put nearly everything from sweet relish to jalapenos in the filling.  While I don't doubt that many of them are quite delicious, they're not what I think of when I think of deviled eggs.  These deviled eggs are like the ones my mom (and I have reason to suspect, your mom) made.  The filling is a smooth and creamy mix of mustard, vinegar, mayo and yolk.. just the way I like 'em.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Brioche Buns, Barbeque, and Birthdays

Today is the 35th anniversary of the man of the house's birth.  In honor of the occasion, his brother and sister-in-law are coming up to the farmhouse from NC for the weekend.  In celebration of his birthday and his brother's visit, the man of the house is smoking a pork shoulder for pulled pork tonight.  When we were at the store getting supplies for the weekend I, ambitiously, suggested that rather than buying the buns I would make them at home.

Last summer I read this article and saw this post but at the time I had never made a loaf of bread and didn't see myself starting anytime soon.  When I got into making bread I avoided brioche doughs fearing their slack, sticky texture and lamenting my lack of stand mixer with dough hook attachment.  Now that I've made them I realize what a sissy I was and I can't believe it took me until now to make them.  The buns are light, chewy, and perfectly plump unlike the flat, limp burger buns you get so often at the supermarket.  Whatever you do, don't make the same mistake I did and wait nearly a year to make these buns.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pasta Carbonara

I had a trial yesterday that ran into the evening and by the time the man of the house and I finally got home and got around to attending to dinner we were both famished.  Though we had plenty of staples on hand there wasn't much other than a frozen pizza that could be ready in under half an hour.  There also wasn't a whole lot of energy left to come up with a creative dinner.  When I looked into the fridge I saw Parmesan cheese, bacon and eggs and finally it dawned on me to prepare a simple and hearty Pasta Carbonara.  From idea to the first bite barely 20 minutes elapsed. 

I used Emeril's recipe and halved it because there were only two of us for dinner, but this could easily be scaled up or down to feed a few or a crowd.  The recipe posted below will serve four (or more) hungry adults.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Flank Steak Tacos with Guacamole

A couple weeks ago spring fever hit our household hard and the next thing we knew we were buying lawn chairs, firing up the grill, and mixing margaritas for friends who stopped by the farm for the evening.  Unfortunately, after a couple margaritas we'd devoured the guacamole and found ourselves out of daylight before the steak came off the grill.  Though the tacos were delicious, I wasn't able to get a decent photo.  Last night after work we called a do-over.  The recipe I used was Bobby Flay's Flank Steak Taco and Guacamole recipe.  The only modification I made was to grill up some onions and red peppers to serve with the tacos.  The grilled veggies and guacamole perfectly complement the charred flank steak.  This is one we'll be making for summers to come.

Monday, March 29, 2010


When I lived in Pittsburgh, PA my favorite breakfast spot was a place called The Bagel Factory which was located in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood called Squirrel Hill.  The bagels were chewy and dense without being heavy and dry.  The outside was smooth and shiny and the everything bagels had kosher salt and no sunflower seeds (the perfect blend).  I graduated from law school in 2006 and moved back home to Virginia to start my career.

Alas, finding a good bagel in rural Virginia is like looking for a needle in a haystack.. a haystack that doesn't have any needles in it.  An hour in the car will get you a serviceable bagel from Panera and nothing more.  Last weekend I set out to make homemade bagels and found success.  These bagels are probably not the same as you'd get in an authentic NY deli but, in my humble opinion, they're pretty darn good.  Certainly better than any of the round breads they call bagels at the grocery store.  

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cheddar-Chive Risotto

It's no secret that I love risotto.  The preparation is involving without being challenging and the result is always pure comfort food.  This recipe from Nigella Lawson's Nigella Express is the slightly more sophisticated cousin of macaroni and cheese.  I enjoyed this on a rainy night home alone with a glass of white wine and a Lifetime movie.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Potato Pizza

The very first time I used yeast was to make a pizza dough back in 2006.  Up to that point I had cooked pretty frequently but had never endeavored to bake anything requiring yeast/kneading/waiting.  I didn't know that dough sometimes needed to rest a while to keep the gluten from causing the dough to seize up when you tried to work with it.  The first time I made a pizza dough I nearly quit in frustration when the harder I tried to form the dough into a perfect round, the harder it fought to remain in a ball.  Though I've certainly gotten back on the horse and made many a yeast dough since that first disastrous pizza dough, I haven't made many pizzas.

Pizza is one of those things that can be made as many different ways as their are people who make it.  I tend to like a thin and crispy crust with a moderate amount of spicy tomato sauce, a light layer of fresh mozzarella, and some combination of mushrooms, onions and pepperoni. 

A few weeks back the man of the house and I caught an episode of "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" in which the guests described the most delicious pizzas they had ever eaten.  Alex Guarnaschelli cited the Yukon Gold Potato Pizza from Five Points as her number one pick.  When we decided to have pizza for dinner last night I left the pepperoni and fresh mozzarella in my fridge and decided to put together a potato pizza of my own.  I topped my pizza with olive oil, thyme, russet potato slices and garlic.  The flavor was very delicate and I could easily see how a drizzle of truffle oil just before serving would be an excellent topper.  When I make this again I think I'll add a little goat cheese and Parmesan to the top of the pizza in the last few minutes of baking.  

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake: Take Two

The last time I made a flourless chocolate cake I accidentally forgot to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and the cake stuck like crazy.  The two slices I photographed were the only two I was able to pry off of the base of the pan intact.  The rest of the cake crumbled into pieces.  Though the cake was delicious, it wasn't exactly what I was looking for.  The cake was dark, moist and heavy.  It was like a slab of decadent chocolate mousse.  Delicious, but not cakelike.  Having had such good results with Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness Cake I looked again to her recipe collection for her take on a flourless chocolate cake.  The following recipe is an adaptation of her Chocolate Cloud Cake.  This cake is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the flourless chocolate cake I made the last time.  The exterior is crater-like and cracked to reveal a moist but light interior.  The whipped cream topping is barely sweet and is a perfect counter point to the cocolatey cake.  This recipe is going into the keep file.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Skillet Fries

Though neither the man of the house nor I could be described as rabid environmentalists, we do try to do our part when it comes to using resources wisely.  We watch our energy consumption and, most relevant to this blog, do everything we can to avoid wasting a lot of food.  Often, since ours is a two person household, I end up halving or even quartering recipes.  Other times I prepare a full batch of something and then freeze part of the batch partially-prepared for leftovers (there are raw meatballs and mushroom ravioli tucked into my freezer as we speak) rather than cooking the entire batch and then eating the same thing for days on end.

The last time we grilled out we ended up with some leftover grilled onion and red peppers.  Not wanting all of that delicious flavor to go to waste, we cooked up some absolutely delicious skillet home fries and served them with bacon and a fried egg for breakfast.  The potatoes would also be really tasty as part of the filling for a breakfast burrito, etc.  The potatoes came together easily and they were much tastier than the soggy mess you often get on the side of your plate at a restaurant.  Though you could certainly cut up some fresh red peppers and onions and cook them along with the potatoes, using the leftovers made the preparation of the potatoes a little simpler and the smokiness from the grill added wonderful flavor.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Last night we had a couple guests over for flank steak tacos, margaritas and guacamole.  The tacos were great (and will be posted once I get some photos of the finished product) but it was the guacamole I woke up this morning wishing I had more of.  The recipe is extremely simple and can be modified to suit anyone's taste, though I'll confess I wouldn't make it any differently.  The blend I chose was moderately spicy.  If you are serving this to children (or adults with sensitivity to spicy foods) you may want to seed or omit the Serrano chili pepper.  I served this exactly as written below and it was finished in no time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Guinness Chocolate Cake

I was thumbing through Nigella Lawson's Feast recently and slowed down when I hit the Chocolate Guinness Cake.  I figured what better time to try Chocolate Guinness Cake than right before St. Patrick's day.  I'm not a beer drinker, I am pretty sure this is the first Guinness that's ever passed my lips.  While I can't say I'll change my drinking habits any time soon I can certainly say there's certainly going to be more of this cake in my future.  The batter comes together in a snap.  Once baked the cake is dense without being heavy and moist without being fudgy.  The icing helps add some sweetness that is missing in the cake but is otherwise slightly disappointing.  I love cream cheese frosting but I don't think it complements the chocolate cake (the contrast also makes the cake extremely difficult to photograph with my iPhone) beyond adding sweetness which helps balance the slight bitterness of the cocoa in the cake.  When I make this again I am going to top the cake with chocolate ganache instead.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lime Bars

This weekend, though the weather outside wasn't giving any indication of spring's impending arrival, I went through some of my old cookbooks, magazines, etc. looking for ideas for new spring recipes.  I was immediately drawn to the Key Lime Bars in the American Classics 2009 issue of Cook's Illustrated.  In my little look around the internet it appears it has been published in previous, and possibly subsequent, issues of the magazine.  The crust employs animal cracker crumbs where many recipes use graham cracker crumbs and the result is surprisingly perfect.  The filling is sweet but the lime stands front and center and the toasted coconut is really an excellent counter-point to the tartness of the filling.

I used freshly squeezed Persian (standard) Limes rather than Key Limes.  In the past I have juiced and attempted to zest a million tiny limes and, in my hunble (though backed up by the folks who write the Cook's Illustrated magazines and cookbooks) opinion the flavor difference, if not entirely imperceptible, doesn't justify the additional expense and hassle.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Challah French Toast

A while back I decided that I should make Challah bread.  I had only tasted Challah bread as french toast but figured anything that heavenly should become part of my repertoire.  I made two large loaves of Challah about 2 months ago.  After smearing a little butter on the first piece sliced off of the freshly baked loaf and determining, to my horror, that I didn't really like Challah that hadn't been turned into french toast, I put the loaves in an extra thick wrapping of aluminum foil and tossed 'em in my freezer.  The first loaf was made into french toast and bread pudding in pretty short order.  The second loaf has languished in the freezer where it was nearly forgotten.  On Friday night I was thinking about what I could make for breakfast this weekend without having to make a trip to the grocery store first.  I took the Challah out of the freezer and tucked it into the fridge overnight and on Saturday morning I whipped up some pretty fine french toast.  The exterior was lightly crisp and the interior was soft without turning into a puddle of milky crumbs.  It's clear to me that french toast was made for Challah and Challah was made for french toast.  There's a lid to every pot.  I halved the recipe because there were only two of us for breakfast but this recipe can be easily scaled to feed a few or a crowd.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Original German Chocolate Cake

The man of the house will tell you that there are three desserts that he really likes; thin and chewy chocolate chip cookies, pecan pie and German Chocolate Cake.  The German Chocolate Cake he grew up with is the original recipe printed on Baker's brand German Chocolate bars.  Apparently this is the cake he requested for all of his childhood birthdays and I didn't want to go messin' with a good thing when I made this German Chocolate Cake last weekend.  I was honestly surprised at the complexity of the cake recipe found inside the box.  I figured this recipe would be one step removed from the boxed, add water, eggs and oil variety, but soon found out that I would be whipping egg whites into stiff little peaks and stirring constantly at my stovetop to make the gooey coconut-pecan filling that elevates German Chocolate Cake to crave-worthy status.  The chocolate cake layers are light and are not overwhelmingly chocolate-y.  They are a perfect counterpoint to the sinfully rich and decadent coconut pecan filling.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mushroom Ravioli

Having gotten the hang of our new pasta machine, I was excited to try homemade ravioli.  We had some friends over this weekend and I thought mushroom ravioli would be an inexpensive way to serve a special dinner to friends.  This recipe isn't especially difficult but it is a little time consuming.  The results are well worth it, though.  The mushroom filling is delicious with homemade and would work equally well with fresh lasagna noodles.  I served this with a Marsala cream sauce (recipe follows). 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chocolate Silk Pie

This pie recipe is nearly identical to the coconut cream pie recipe I posted a few weeks ago and is a testament to the versatility of a good basic recipe.  Rather than adding toasted coconut to the finished pudding you simply add in semisweet chocolate pieces.  The resulting filling is thick, creamy and decadent without being overly sweet.

I again made the pre-baked pie crust from the New Best Recipe cookbook and again ended up with a shrunken, bubbled and misshapen (though tasty) final product.  Hopefully I'll be able to post a winning pre-baked pie crust recipe in the future.

In the meanwhile, use whatever pie crust works for you and enjoy this extremely easy and delicious chocolate silk pie recipe.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Honey-Lemon Pound Cake

Lately there has been a slight change in the air.  I'm no longer worried about another snow storm.  It's sunny when I drive to work.  As the appearance of spring inches closer, my wintry desire to cozy up into something warm, rich, and heavy is beginning to melt away along with the snow I'm afraid will still be around in July. 

Last night I wanted something sweet, but not something overly rich or creamy and I didn't have a lot of energy to begin a baking project at 9 p.m.  I decided to make a pound cake flavored with vanilla, honey and lemon.  Pound cakes are simple to make, the ingredients are found in most kitchens, and the basic batter can support many variations. 

A little over an hour later I was well rewarded for my selection.  The cake was moist and delicious.  The flavors of the honey and lemon don't announce themselves loudly, but lend a hint of their flavor.  If you want to dial up the lemon flavor a lemon glaze would be perfect.  This would also be excellent topped with a little fresh whipped cream and some berries once they come into season.  In any event, this is a wonderful little pound cake to serve this upcoming spring (or now if you can't wait).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sun Dried Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto

When we went grocery shopping last weekend a new box of arborio rice was on my list because I had great plans to make Nigella Lawson's Cheddar Cheese Risotto (I expect to post that within the next week).  On Monday after work I broke out my new box of arborio rice but settled on a concoction that involved no cheddar cheese or chives and, instead, was studded with delicious bits of sun dried tomatoes and cubes of melty fresh mozzarella cheese.

Risotto gets a bad rap for its perceived labor intensiveness.  Sure, you can't put it on the stove or in the oven with a lid on it and expect it to come out properly, but the "stir constantly" part of the recipe, though necessary to release the starch that creates its creamy texture, is really not that taxing.  For one, risotto is wet so if one stirs somewhat less frequently than constantly it's not going to scorch or stick right away.  For another, risotto isn't dense or heavy so it doesn't take a lot of effort to stir.  Many recipes that want you to stir something constantly want you to do so to avoid a burnt product or to turn unmanageable dough into manageable dough.  Risotto isn't that high maintenance and the creamy (without cream in many instances) results are worth it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I got a pasta machine this weekend and have been waiting to break it out ever since.  We plan to have some friends over this weekend and my menu plan includes sun dried tomato ravioli made using our newest kitchen addition.  I figured I shouldn't break out the pasta machine for the first time with company over for dinner and, underestimating the time required to make one's first batch of homemade pasta, I arrived home from work and embarked upon creating my own thin spaghetti noodles to eat with homemade meatballs and marinara sauce.

My first attempt at putting together the pasta dough went horribly awry and I found myself on the verge of a tantrum as a wave of unbeaten egg took out the flour retaining wall and sent the whole thing cascading off the cutting board, onto the counter and overboard onto the floor.  When I finally got the dough together (in the safe confines of a mixing bowl) it was too wet for the pasta machine to cut.  After several rounds of defeat, I produced homemade noodles.  Alas, they're still a work in progress and I would be remiss to attempt to offer any instruction regarding their preparation.  The sauce and meatballs, on the other hand, are excellent.  A few bites into my dinner I all but forgot about the reasons dinner didn't hit the table until nearly ten.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Overnight Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns

This is an adaptation of the Cinnamon Buns recipe I posted here.  For this recipe you will prepare the dough the same way as you would for the Cinnamon Buns but the filling and topping are different.  Prior to rolling out the dough you will toast some pecans and create a caramel sauce for the buns to bake on top of.  The resulting sticky buns are ooey-gooey and sinfully delicious.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Overnight Cinnamon Buns

A favorite breakfast treat here at the farmhouse is cinnamon buns.  The sad fact of the matter, however, is that we rarely get to enjoy them before lunchtime due to the lengthy rises required.  I decided I would make the dough and assemble the rolls the night before and put them in the refrigerator overnight for their second rise.  In the morning they were plump and ready for the oven.  No fuss no muss.  The aroma of the buns filled the entire house and worked a lot better than the alarm clock to get sleepy bodies out of bed.  The buns were excellent.  Perfectly sweet, tender and gooey.

The following recipe is adapted from the Best Recipe Baking book. 

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Tale of Two Pretzels - Epilogue - PretzelPups

When I was assembling the Sigmund pretzels it occurred to me that pretzels and hot dogs go pretty well together.  I found an opened pack of hot dogs with three remaining and decided to give it a whirl.  The PretzelPups were awesome dunked in mustard.  So awesome, in fact, I forgot to take a picture of them until mine was nearly entirely devoured.

A Tale of Two Pretzels - Part 2 - We Have a Winner

Second Up - Sigmund Pretzels

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Tale of Two Pretzels - Part 1

I was in Norfolk, VA this week for two days and got to do something I never get to do... watch daytime TV.  Martha Stewart's show was on and I watched a segment where a guest, Lina Kulchinski, founder of Sigmund Pretzels, shared her recipe for soft pretzels.  The dough looked gorgeous that I haven't been able to get them off my mind since.  I knew as soon as I could get myself into the kitchen I would be making these pretzels.

Prior to making the Sigmund pretzels I went over to the Food Network's website to see what Alton Brown had to say about the subject.  The same Alton Brown who has you roast your own peanuts and then pulverize them into homemade peanut butter before turning them into a decadent peanut butter pie makes a one-day pretzel with much less rigamarole.  I wondered which pretzel recipe would produce a superior result and decided to try the pretzels head-to-head to see if the beer, brown sugar, and overnight nap really created a better pretzel.

Both original recipes call for the kneading to be done by machine.  Both recipes re-produced on this website call for hand-kneading.   If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment links are provided to both original recipes.

Simple Pork Tenderloin

We tend to exhaust most of our creative energy at mealtime into the side dishes, breads and desserts we serve with and after our meals.  That said, the protein in our meals is typically simply prepared with ingredients that complement the flavor profile of our sides.  A frequent dinner protein in our farmhouse is pork tenderloin.  It's low in fat and calories, versatile, easy to prepare, and very tasty.  You can pair this simple preparation with just about anything and the pan drippings are the perfect base to any pan sauce your heart desires.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake


I am way late to the party, but this was actually my first time making a flourless chocolate cake.  I attempted to make a flourless chocolate waffle like the ones featured in the Great American restaurants a few years back, but that turned out to be more of a flourless chocolate omelet.

As I've mentioned before, my boss has a serious sweet tooth and, in the interest of office harmony and future raises, I try to bring him a little treat here and there.  This week he chose a flourless chocolate cake after I denied his first request for the, impossible to duplicate, flourless chocolate waffle.  I ultimately selected the following recipe at random after realizing no two cooks makes the ubiquitous dessert the same way and all of the reviews for all of the variations were entirely positive.  The preparation for this recipe is simple and quick.  The cake.. worth savoring.  Because this recipe requires that the cake be refrigerated overnight it's a perfect make-ahead dessert for events where you won't have a free oven until long after dinner is over.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mustard Roasted Potatoes

We love roasted potatoes and eat them frequently with our dinners.  We also have no fewer than five different kinds of mustard in our refrigerator (down from an absurd eight a month ago).  When I stumbled upon Ina Garten's recipe for mustard roasted potatoes I knew they'd be a hit at our household.  I also knew, despite not having been to the grocery store in a few weeks, we had all the necessary ingredients in our pantry.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Apple, Goat Cheese, and Honey Tart

We picked up some beautiful apples the other day and I have been trying to figure out exactly what I would like to do with them.  I initially thought of a dutch baby with sauteed apples but then remembered a recipe I had bookmarked about a year ago.  The original recipe was a little fussy for just the two of us for dessert.  I wanted something a little less complicated, a little more rustic, and a little sweeter.  I decided to keep the frozen puff pastry sheet in the freezer and used Ina Garten's pastry recipe instead.  Though not a true puff pastry, the dough is a snap to put together and provides a much more supple result.  Unless you're looking for the height and flakiness that only a laminated dough will provide this is a good base for any fruit tart.

Potato-Leek Galette

I tried this recipe for the first time a few years ago in a tiny apartment kitchen.  I served it with rack of lamb.  Though the rack of lamb was excellent, it's these potatoes that have been requested over and over again by the man of the house.  The potatoes are crisp, the cheese is creamy, and the leeks give just enough flavor to keep things interesting.  A mandoline slicer makes quick work of the potatoes but, as demonstrated below, they can also be cut by hand to excellent results.  Martha Stewart gets all the thanks for this one.

White Sandwich Bread

Even if I hadn't purchased a 25 pound sack of flour and a bulk package of yeast at Costco I would like to think I would still make homemade bread.  This recipe is for a simple, all-American, white sandwich bread.  The type of bread that stands up to a thick slather of mustard and a pile of ham and cheese.  Not the kind of white bread that you can smush into a 1/2" cube between your fingers. Enjoy it with your favorite sandwich fixins or, like we do, warm and slathered with butter and drizzled with honey.  It's unbelievably good.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chocolate Eclairs

 My boss is a man who doesn't mess around when it comes to desserts.  He's a guy who, in the summer months, will close our office so we can go get ice cream cones.  When he asked for Chocolate Eclairs last week I knew I should oblige.  I used Gale Gand's recipe with few modifications and wound up with delicious, though somewhat enormous, eclairs.  Perhaps I am less familiar with jumbo size hot dogs than I thought, but my 5" lengths of dough transformed into submarine sandwich sized eclairs.  For more manageable portions pipe dough into 3 - 3 1/2" lengths.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Garlic-Rosemary Crusted Pork Loin Roast

Here at the farmhouse, I do lots of baking and daily meal preparation but when it comes to large cuts of meat the man of the house is pressed into action.  Typically he likes to take his meat outside where it is either grilled or barbecued.  Given the epic snowfall we've had this winter grilling and smoking are out of the question until we can get into the yard without waders (who knew fly fishing equipment would ever come in so handy?).  This recipe was adapted from Giada diLaurentiis's Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Roast.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Buttermilk Cluster Rolls


These rolls have been to the end of the internet and back this month.  It's rare to have dozens of reviews for a bread recipe.  Despite the generally positive comments, I was a little worried about making these rolls because of the many reviews indicating difficulty with the recipe and the photographic evidence of varied results.  Taking into account some of the most common complaints with the recipe, I ultimately ended up with beautifully browned, soft, towering (but not too gargantuan) rolls that I will be making over and over again.  You can read more about these rolls here, here, here, here, and here and approximately 31,695 other places on the web.

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie is one of my dad's favorite desserts so, in honor of his visit to the farm tonight, I whipped one up.  I have to admit that pie crust eludes me and, as a result, I never make homemade crust for a single crust pie.  Today I bucked the trend and made my own crust to tasty if not beautiful results.  Both the crust and the pie filling were adapted from The New Best Recipe Cookbook.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


They say that crumpets are butter's best friend and any friend of butter is a friend of mine. I've long been known to toast an english muffin into oblivion only to load it up with butter and a kiss of jam. This morning I decided to make crumpets and see how they stacked up to my long-time breakfast favorite. The results were... delicious.  This recipe is a slight adaptation of the recipe found on the King Arthur Flour blog

Quick and Easy Marinara

A quick homemade sauce can elevate even plain noodles and sauce into a praise-worthy dish. I love making homemade meatballs, lasagna, and chicken parmigiana and love that this sauce is tasty, flavorful, and ready in under an hour.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cinnamon and Chocolate Bread Pudding

I have been baking lots of bread lately and had a ton of stale bread in my freezer just waiting for me to figure out what to do with it. Finally, I decided upon bread pudding since most of the leftover bread was either challah, french, or a lightly sweet molasses loaf. I'm not a huge fan of raisins in baked goods so I opted for chocolate chips. The results were excellent.  The base recipe was adapted from The New Best Recipe Cookbook.

Chicken Parmigiana

Nothing hits the spot when you're holed up waiting for spring more than something warm, hearty, cheesy, and well paired with a glass of wine.

We settled on Chicken Parmigiana for dinner last night and were well rewarded for our efforts.

Pain au Chocolate

Having been stranded at the farm with feet of snow piling up around us, I decided to try my hand at Chocolate Croissants, aka Pain au Chocolate. I selected Jacques Torres' recipe and proceeded with a few minor tweaks.