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Palette de Porc a la Biere (ou en anglais Beer Braised Pork Shoulder with a Dijon Mustard Sauce)

Palette de porc a la biereOver the weekend Cheryl requested something new and untried for Sunday dinner and said she’d pick from the cookbook shelf.  The winning recipe of the ones she chose: Bourdain’s Palette de Porc a la Biere; a.k.a beer braised pork shoulder with mustard sauce. (more…)

Linguine with Clam Sauce

Linguine with clam sauceFor the longest time I had huge problems trying to make linguine with clam sauce like my mom’s.  Try as I might I could never get it as thick as hers.  I tried everything too, more butter, less liquid, more clams, nothing ever seemed to work.  I had pretty much given up hope I’d ever recreate it until the Christmas I asked for copies of her recipe books.  Once the books arrived I saw the recipe for clam sauce and the secret code was revealed… (more…)

Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli – A Refreshingly Light Sunday Dinner

Spinach and Mushroom ravioliAfter New Year’s and the end of carb-overload season I’m always looking to create some lighter yet fulfilling meals and I think pastas are a great blank canvas for this.  It had been a while since I made ravioli so I decided we’d have some for Sunday dinner.  The only major question was, what kind of filling for the ravioli?  Like most people who overdo it in December (paying for it at the gym this month), January is the month where I crave green leafy vegetables, probably because I haven’t seen one since Thanksgiving.  Actually I’m game for just about any vegetable, just so long as it’s not candied, sweetened, or glazed.  So with the goal of incorporating more green into our diet in mind, I made some spinach and mushroom ravioli.  (more…)

A Christmas Cookie Favorite – Peanut Butter Kisses

Peanut Butter Kisses Cookies

Often times on this blog I’m putting up things which are either my favorites or somehow related to my own family’s traditions.  Well there’s another member of my family who sometimes gets overlooked in the foods we eat; my wife Cheryl.  Her favorite Christmas cookie which reminds her of her family are Peanut Butter Kisses, the cookies which have the big Hershey’s kiss in the middle. (more…)

Creamed Onions, or if you want to be fancy, Blanquette d’Oignon!

So last week was Thanksgiving here in the USA and every year there are always new recipes intending to “update” or “modernize” old classics.  That’s all fine and well but after last week’s dinner it has occurred to me most people really like the old school dishes which they grew up with and nothing will ever replace them.  This creamed onion recipe from my mom’s recipe book is just one of those dishes. (more…)

Pecan Toffee Crumble – A Simple Topper for Your Sweet Potatoes

On Monday nights I usually participate in a Twitter-chat called Foodiechats* which runs for about 2 hours where the moderator asks questions based on the night’s theme.  This past Monday’s chat was, of course, Thanksgiving themed and one of the questions asked if you try new recipes or stick with tried and true.  I feel I stick with the tried and true but after going over my to-do list for this year’s Thanksgiving Dinner I realized there’s one side dish I do experiment with; the sweet potatoes.  After trying out a few different ways to jazz them up over the past couple years I returned to the one I knew worked best and was the simplest: a pecan toffee crumble.   (more…)

The Best Thanksgiving Stuffing Ever!

Ready to be stuffed into the turkey!

This was one of my first posts when I started this blog a year ago and seeing as how Thanksgiving is just two weeks away I’m re-posting it, and I’ve added some pics I took when I made it last year to go along with the “recipe.” 

Every Thanksgiving the one thing I look forward to most is the stuffing.  I really could care less about the turkey.  For me that is the vessel by which you cook the stuffing.

This is the stuffing my Grandmother (on my father’s side) made and we used to have it every year.  It was one of the first recipes of hers I took from my mother.  As with many grandmothers, the things she cooked were normally not written down in recipe form, it was all a pinch of this, a couple of these, etc. (as you’ll see).  Thankfully, my mother recorded them as best she could when she was learning them.  I had a pretty special bond with my Grandmother, we had the same birthday, and I remember her a lot around this time of year when I make this recipe and her special Hungarian Christmas “cookies” in December. (more…)

Getting Colder Outside, Make a Hearty Vegetable Garbure!

Your first question is what the heck is a vegetable garbure?  Short answer: a ham and vegetable French peasantry stew.  Long answer: a French stew I found in Ruhlman’s Twenty which enabled me to use up the bacon rind I’ve been saving in the freezer from the last time I made bacon.  Doesn’t it always seem like the peasant dishes you find turn out to be intensely hearty and sustaining?  This is what makes them really good for fall and winter.  They’re typically dishes which use scraps and leftovers, are simmered for hours, and develop intense flavors.  Vegetable garbure is one of those peasant dishes I’m adding to the rotation whenever I cure some bacon. (more…)

Pumpkin Risotto – Another Flavor of Fall

It sure has gotten cold recently here in Chicago.  Time for a hearty warm dish which reflects the autumn season upon us: pumpkin risotto.  Yes, pumpkin risotto.  The great pumpkin’s time is now (just ask Linus).  My unofficial pumpkin season starts in late September and ends at Thanksgiving.  That Thanksgiving pumpkin pie is usually the last pumpkin dish I’ll make for almost a year.  Right now we’ve got pumpkin beer, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin bread, etc., so get your fill during this brief fall window!    (more…)

Couscous Salad (don’t worry, summer’s almost over)

Ok, back to summer salads!  This particular couscous salad is Cheryl’s favorite.  I’m not sure if there’s a special ingredient in it she really likes or if it’s the combination of everything, but whatever it is she gets very happy when I make it.  As with most of my summer creations, this couscous salad is very easy to make, can be made ahead, and is perfect for hot evenings when you don’t want to do much cooking. (more…)