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Friends had us over for dinner several days ago and not wanting to arrive empty-handed, I decided to bring a dessert (obviously before Pie-fest week). My family requested my Mocha White Chocolate trifle. It's easy enough and ever so good. People think you fussed, when really you didn't.
Mocha White Chocolate Trifle
Put a metal or glass mixing bowl into your freezer, so it gets nice and cold.
Combine milk, coffee, and coffee granules and let sit for five minutes or so until coffee granules dissolve. Stir well. Add instant pudding and mix with a mixer or whisk for approximately a minute, until there are no more lumps. Chill for 30 minutes.
Remove chilled bowl from freezer. Add whipping cream and whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Add a pinch of sugar if you'd like.
Remove pudding from the fridge and fold the whipping cream into the pudding until combined well.
Put 1/2 of the pound cake cubes into the bottom of a trifle bowl. Drizzle with kahula. Put a layer of mousse over the pound cake. Add a layer of chocolate and almonds. Repeat with more layers of pound cake, kahula, mousse, almonds, and chocolate. Chill for at least an hour before serving.
You could make it look even prettier by drizzling chocolate sauce/syrup down the sides of the bowl if you'd like. Mmmm! If you're tired of pie, try this or use your imagination and use different ingredients. I love fruity trifles in the summer.
Okay, I've been here in Dallas for about 24 hours now. I've been here before, but it's been a while. Some observations....
1) the airport is bigger than I remember. It should have it's own zip code. It probably does.
2) I've always been good with directions, I've been here before, I've got a map, I've got a Garmin, and I've taken so many wrong turns already. Driving here is not for sissies. I also got pulled over last night, but the cop was great and let me go. He was great, and helpful too.
3) The food here rocks....no debate! Had dinner at Babe's Chicken House tonight and I think I've died and gone to chicken-fried heaven.
4) Churches are massive here. What's that all about?
5) JerryWorld....the new Cowboys stadium looks like it's own planet or alian spaceship. I can't wait to see the inside. The Bengals are so bad this year that I could be a Cowboys fan again, but they're sucking too. Go Texans!
6) I'd forgotten how much I like country music, line dancing, and cool cowboy boots. I've been away too long. And I miss Garth Brooks.
But no matter where you are and why you're there, it's great to be with your family and see friends who live far away. That's what it's all about, and we never have enough time.
More later. If this looks goofy, it's because this is my first blog post via iPad.
It's good to be back!
No messing around this morning, I'm posting the recipe for my stupendous Philly Cheese Steaks that I made last night. Now I've never had an authentic one from Philadelphia, so I do not make any claims to their authenticity. They just taste damn good, that's all!
Philly Cheese Steaks
After cutting ribeye into strips, put into a ziplock bag with worcestershire sauce and a few pinches of kosher salt. Shake the bag and let sit for an hour to marinate.
Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until sizzly hot (how's that for descriptive?). Add oil, and saute onions, garlic, and green peppers on medium high heat until carmelized (about 8 minutes). Remove veggies from the skillet and add steak. Saute quickly, always moving the meat so that it doesn't overcook. Add veggies back to the skillet and mix well. Layer the cheese over the skillet, turn off the heat, and cover. Let sit for two minutes so that the cheese can melt.
In the meantime, toast or broil the split rolls. Remove the extra soft bread in the centers and stuff with the skillet mixture. Top with pickled banana peppers (optonal).
I hope you like them! I'm off to walk the dog, who got her first taste of a steak bone yesterday. At first she didn't know what to do with it, but that didn't last long!
"Men cook outside with FLAME,
Women cook inside with MAGIC!"
Andy has said this jokingly for years, as I'm the indoor kitchen magician, and he's the grill master. But we decided to go for a little gender bending last week as Shannon and I decided that it could be fun for the girls to fire up the barbecue grill and try making pizza outdoors.
No, really...it was STUPENDOUS!
I got lots of tidbits of advice from Facebook friends, and so I tried to pull what I thought were the best pieced of advice and basically wing it. Here's what worked for us, and keep in mind that you need to do what works best for you.
Note: we have a gas grill. If you have a charcoal grill, I can't help you...you're on your own!
Clean/scrape your grill well and get the goo/grease/gnarl off of the cooking grates. Spray grates with cooking spray.
Prepare your pizza dough according to your recipe or package directions. Let it rest for about five minutes, then shape into pizza crust disk. Set aside.
Turn your grill on high and let it warm up for a few minutes. Put crust directly on the grill grates. Keep an eye on it. After about five minutes, try to lift the crust with a spatula. If it seems a bit firm, flip it over and let it grill on the other side. Once flipped, let it continue to cook for about five more minutes, or until you see a bit of grill marks on the crust, and the edges are a bit browned.
Add sauce and toppings while pizza is on the grill. Let cook about two more minutes, then turn the grill off, put the lid on, and let the toppings and cheese warm up and melt together well.
Lift pizza off the grill with a spatula.
This was SO good and really easy to do. I found the grill to be very forgiving. Don't be afraid to try it. I can't wait to give it a go with some more exotic toppings, like goat cheese, spinach, and artichokes. Yum!
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I have lots to share with you this week. I didn't post yesterday because I was busy seeing if this girl could come and join our family.
It's not official yet, but things are looking good! :-)
Just a quickie weekend post....
We had guests for dinner last night and while I'm not into making desserts, I thought it would be nice to take advantage of the yummy berries that are out there right now. I ended up making The Pioneer Woman's Blackberry Cobbler, but I used both blackberries AND blueberries.
It was so simple to make and so DEElicious that even my berry-hatin'' kid loved it. I highly recommend it!
Here's Ree's recipe: Blackberry Cobbler by The Pioneer Woman
Does Ree make or do anything that isn't fabulous? Yeah, I'm a huge fan.
We lost another friend last week to cancer. Cancer is ridiculous. It's non-discriminatory. Anyhow, I could go on and on about cancer and my feelings about it, but that's for another day.
Anyhow, her funeral was yesterday and while it was indeed a sad day, there was an amazing revelation as well. I'll blog about that later in the week. But in the meantime, I'm kind of whooped and given that it's Recipe Tuesday, I thought I'd "punt" this week and given you a rerun.
So here you go. When was the last time you cooked with a rock from your garden? Well now you can. I present to you in Tuscan style, Chicken Under a Brick. It's SOOOO 2008....
Okay, I try to do different things every week and I just realized that I did chicken last week...and the week before! Oh well, last Tuesday seems like literally a lifetime ago. It really does. I promise a chicken-free week next week. How about some dessert for a nice change?
Several years ago I was very blessed to have the opportunity to travel to Italy. I was so inspired by everything Italian....from the fashion, to the architecture, from the beautiful scenery, to the food. I remember eating "chicken under a brick" at this little hole-in-the-wall in Venice and it was just sublime. I vowed to learn how to make it.
Really, basic Tuscan cooking is all about simplicity and good ingredients like good olive oil and fresh herbs. Here is my Chicken Under a Brick. I use my trusty cast iron skillet, a large landscape rock (that I set aside and cleaned well for cooking), and fresh rosemary (which I grow all year-round).
Happy Tuesday everybody!
At last, my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
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Etta James said it years ago, and I couldn't have said it better. After nearly five months of grocery store exile, our bright shiny new Kroger reopened today, complete with marching bands, television cameras, and local celebrities.
(Shannon with voice of the Cincinnati Reds, Marty Brennaman)
Ask my family and close friends, they know how much I have been counting down the months, then weeks, then days, and finally hours until today's store opening. I admit it, I've been spoiled by having a grocery store practically at the bottom of the hill for about 15 years now. When the store closed, I was forced to rethink the way I shop and even plan meals and cook. I had to plan more and I had to make sure I had a list in hand when I did venture out for a big grocery-load-up. And in those times where I was in the middle of making something and realized that I was out of something I needed immediately, I found myself either having to drive at least an eight mile round trip, or shopping at Walgreen's for something like butter or eggs.
And frankly (yes, I'll whine just a little bit more here), I didn't like any of the alternative locations that I have been forced to frequent for many reasons, but I'll spare you those. Last week's hissy fit thrown by a deli clerk at one of my alternative stores was the last straw for me. Who knew that asking for the store's weekly brown sugar ham special would be such a BIG FAT HAIRY DEAL. I"m sorry, but unless that chick cut her finger off in the meat slicer, she had no reason to be so sullen and rude. After getting home from there, I swore I was not going to step foot into another grocery store until the grand reopening of my Kroger today. I stuck to it too, with the exception of ducking into the Circle K earlier in the week for a fresh gallon of milk.
The store opened at 7am this morning and I really did consider lining up to be the first in the store. As it turns out, sleep and a lazy cup of coffee won out. By the time I arrived, the party was in full swing. There were food samples everywhere, nobody needed breakfast nor lunch, that's for sure. I don't know how wild I am about sushi at 8:30am, but there are worse choices for breakfast, that's for sure! Television crews were there, Kroger executives were buzzing around in their well tailored suits, little kids were laughing at their baloons and cookies, but mainly it was jam-packed with happy shoppers and happy employers all being reunited after having to go elsewhere to shop and work for months.
You probably think I'm crazy, and maybe I am, but at least I'm not alone. There were a LOT of happy shoppers and employees in that store this morning. Gleeful is the word that comes to mind. I'm sure the novelty will wear off after a few weeks, but in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy getting to know my new home base. It's been a long time coming!
In case you haven't noticed - or if you're in the Southern hemisphere right now - it's hot out there. Big time hot. Fortunately, I'm married to a man who is not only a fine person, but a talented mixologist as well. That's always a good thing, especially when you're in the mood for some really tasty white Sangria.
Andy makes a killer white Sangria and he agreed to let me share his secret recipe with all of you today so that you can make it and have a smile on your face this evening.
Andy's White Sangria
Mix everything together, then squeeze the juice from the fresh fruit. Give it all a stir. If you have enough patience to wait for a few hours or even overnight before serving, it's even better. Serve over ice with fruit in your glass. YUM!
A few weeks ago, a friend (one who is not only a generous host, but a fantastic cook!) had us over for dinner. He made a panko crusted pork tenderloin that was similar to what he has eaten several times while on his travels to Japan on business. The Japanese call it Tonkatsu. I am telling you, these things were KILLER! I watched him make them and figured that I could easily come up with my own version.
My family has been wanting me to make them ever since, but there was only one thing holding me back. I've never deep fried anything in my life. That's right, no fried chicken, no homemade donuts, no french fries. I've sauteed many a meal, but to to heat more than 1/4 inch of grease...that's one thing I've never done in all my years of experimenting in the kitchen.
Why? A few reasons. One, it's messy... although one could say that frying up bacon on the stove is just as messy and that would be correct. And two... I never could figure out what to do with the leftover grease/oil after you were done frying. And given that nobody in my family (other than the skinny, bony old dog) is in need of any extra caloric intake, it just wasn't high on the priority list.
But I did it, it was easy, and wowza were they good. I put my own twist in the recipe, so it's just a bit different than my friend's recipe.
Panko Crusted Pork Cutlets
Take each slice of pork that's been cut on the diagonal and place it between two slices of wax paper (or parchment paper). Pound the pork uniformely until you have a cutlet approximately 1/4" thick (I used a rolling pin. see photo).
When ready to cook, heat about 2" of oil in a pan with a heavy bottom. While the oil is heating, mix the eggs and hot sauce and add some freshly ground black pepper. Put the panko crumbs in a separate bowl. Sprinkle each cutlet with salt and pepper Dunk each cutlet into the egg mixture, then into the crumbs, then back into the egg and once again into the crumbs. Set aside. Coat all the pork with the breading.
Your oil is hot enough when you toss a few bread crumbs into the oil and it bubbles and doesn't splatter. Add pork to the hot oil, cooking about two minutes on each side. Don't put more than about three cutlets in the oil at once, or the heat will drop and they'll turn out soggy and soak up too much oil. Also be careful that they don't get too brown too fast. If you think they're browning up too quickly, turn the heat down a bit. I pulled them out when they were golden brown on each side, like the photo above. When you remove them from the oil, set them on paper towels to soak up any of the excess oil.
Serve cutlets with the Tonkatsu Sauce. I have trouble finding it in stores around here, so we skipped it. I did find a quick recipe for it online this morning, so you can make your own if you're really motivated: Tonkatsu Sauce. If you live in the Cincinnati area, I know that they have Tonkatsu Sauce at Jungle Jim's (just one more reason to trek up to Jungle Jim's!).
I hope you'll give these a try, they are really quite easy and SO good. Given that they're fried, I wouldn't eat them every day, but everything in moderation is fine, right?
Have a great day! Eat well!