Monday, November 24, 2008

Savory beef short ribs

When the weather cools, I crave comfort food. One of my all time favs is beef short ribs. The flavor is so rich and wonderful - they literally melt on your tongue.

A's Short Ribs

Serves 2

4 -5 Bone-in short ribs (can also use boneless, I prefer bone-in for flavor)
Garlic Pepper Salt
Cavenders (Greek seasoning - I use the salt free kind)
Lemon juice
Good grainy mustard
Onion, slices into wedges

Put the short ribs in the slow cooker with the bone side down, add 1 inch of water in the crock. Sprinkle garlic powder, Cavenders, salt and pepper over the top, then spread some grainy mustard on top. Cook on low all day, or high for half a day.

Ingredients (plus your short ribs)

Put it all in the slow cooker on low and be prepared for a tasty dinner

Mmm, they're ready

Serve with rice pilaf and a salad

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Calming, redecorated breakfast nook

You might remember when I posted about our mischievous little dog, Beasley starting this project for us. Our great painter tested my patience (which I don't have much of) and made me wait for two months. John the painter was busy. I had to wait. Staring at bare walls for that long would drive even drive the sanest of people insane. And I don't claim to be sane. :)

The long awaited (for me at least) breakfast nook is complete, and I think it turned out just great. Also, I got my inspiration for this room from Traditional Home, and posted the pics in an old post. The room I found inspiration from was much more formal than my little room, but I just fell in love with the color.

KSU football

Going to the games on Saturdays is our life in the Fall. This year, I've been extremely busy and haven't made it to many games. I did go last week when KSU got their behinds kicked by Nebraska. We did have a great time even though KSU didn't win. It's all about the experience though!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Johnson + Tallgrass Film Fest

A few weeks back, my husband and I had the pleasure of his best friend from college (and still today), Mark Johnson, coming to visit from LA for the Tallgrass Film Festival. Visits from Johnson usually come once a year when he's on his way to visit his parents in a small town a couple hours from here. But this time, he really did come just to see us - well and to see his film, O2 at the Festival. Of course, his was far superior to the other films, however there were a couple that were pretty good.

Us doing a little pre-fest celebrating downtown.

Zach and his lady friend (who Johnson decided to nickname Porsche - random but funny.)

Kelsea and her boyfriend.

Johnson and me.

Johnson on stage with the other director/producers answering audience questions about their films.

Can't wait for next year J-man to celebrate your next short masterpiece! We love you!

Pesto baby

My mouth waters just typin' the word. My grandma taught me how to make it a few years back, and she and I have been pesto makin' machines ever since. I'm madly in love with it, and she eats some and gives a lot away.

Basil Pesto

3 cups fresh basil (it grows so easily in the garden, we plant two plants each year)
4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (or you can use walnuts, but I prefer the flavor of pine nuts)
1/2 cup Parmesan (I fake it and use the Rice Parmesan because I *try* not to eat dairy)
1/4 cup good olive oil
salt, to taste

Grandma washing basil from the garden.

Chop up the basil in the food processor.

Peel your garlic and add it.

Throw in your toasted pine nuts, chop again. Then add your olive oil and taste.

Once it's the right consistency, taste it. Then add salt to taste.

Jar that pesto up, and it will keep a long time in the fridge and even longer in the freezer. Also, you can add citric acid if you don't like it to turn dark. I figure it tastes the same and don't worry, especially because the citric acid changes the flavor.

Leave one jar open, and enjoy the fruits of your labor with one of those tasty crackers.

I could eat a million of these, but have to practice self control.

Other uses for pesto: add olive oil and toss with pasta; use instead of marinara on a pizza; make a pesto vinaigrette for salad; and use your imagination. It's good just by the spoonful.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My dear friend Alexis' Wedding

Wow, she was a gorgeous bride. Too bad I don't have any good pics of her and her darling husband, Cooper.

Alexis and her wonderfully talented and incredible mother (who decorated the entire country club and did the flowers for the wedding - pics below).

My fabulous friend Amy. Is she beautiful or what?

My husband and me.

And one of us where I'm being way squirrely (it happens so rarely, I just had to post it).

Generations of love

Genevieve and her Great Grandma (my grandma). Nothing quite lights up our family like babies do. Princess G has brought so many sweet moments to our family, and she's a mere 9 months old. And she just keeps getting cuter and more fun.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hope for a better world

Begins soon with our new leader. Damn, it feels good to be an American again (finally). The change we need is on the horizon. The international respect for our country will be restored. The economy will bounce back. We will take care of our people. History has been made, and it's just the beginning of a new era of a promising tomorrow.

Damn it feels good to be an American.

(Photos via Vanity Fair)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

David's Perfect Pizza

Guest blogger today is our good friend David Kamerer, of Spoonful. His Spoonful isn't normally about edibles, however I think it should be on occasion because David is one helluva cook. On numerous occasions, we've had the delightful experience of eating David's pizzas. My husband asked him to teach us how to make the dough, and David not only enthusiastically accepted our invite, he typed up the blog post below. So, cheers to you David for sharing your talents and being my first guest blogger!

Dear Princess Adriene,
Pizza has made me friends, gotten me out of culinary jams and brought my family together in the kitchen. It’s one of my favorite things to make. You can top a pizza with just about anything, so I won’t get into that now. But here is the recipe for the crust:
The only ingredient you’ll need that you may not have is yeast. Buy a jar of dry yeast – those little packets are very expensive! This recipe presumes that you have a sturdy mixer, such as a KitchenAid.

Prep time: about 15 minutes. Rise time: 45 minutes or more recommended.
Ingredients needed: water, sugar, flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, corn meal.
Makes two 12” round pizzas.

Start with a cup of warm water. I put cold water in the microwave for 20 seconds. Pour it into your bowl, and swish it around to warm the bowl and take the heat out of the water. Mix in a teaspoon of sugar. Pitch a teaspoon (or a packet) of yeast into the mix and let it wake up for 30 seconds to a minute.

Add a cup or more of flour, and continue adding by half cups as you run your mixer on low with the dough hook attached. You’ll need more than 3 cups, possibly up to 4, but this varies.

As your mixture becomes the texture of warm pudding, add a teaspoon of salt and up to four tablespoons of olive oil. This is also a good time to mix in any herbs or other personal touches that you might like to bake into the crust. Continue adding flour until it becomes dough. As it gets stiffer, add flour in smaller qualities. Your goal is for the mixture to clean first the sides and then the bottom of the bowl.

The more you mix, the better the dough will bake. As you mix, the flour creates gluten, and becomes resilient and stretchy – the better to hold in the carbon dioxide bubbles released by the yeast.

When the dough cleans both the sides and bottom of the bowl and you’ve mixed for at least five minutes, you can shape the dough into a ball and put it in a bowl to rise. Put a tablespoon of olive oil in the bowl first, drop the dough in, then invert it so the entire surface is oiled. Then cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. It will rise more quickly in a warm place.

When dough has risen, place on a floured work surface and divide in two (you’re making two crusts). Roll into the shape and size desired. Place some corn meal onto a baking peel (or cookie sheet) and transfer dough to it. Top it and you’re ready to bake it.

I recommend as high a temperature as your oven will go, or 450 degrees F. If you have a stone, place it in the oven before you preheat, and use the baker’s peel to transfer it, making sure to use plenty of corn meal so your pizza slides easily into the oven. It will bake for 10 – 15 minutes, so just watch it. You’ll know when it’s ready to pull out.

A's Side note: this pizza is David's creation - blue and feta cheeses, pear and almond (he uses walnuts, but I only had almonds on hand). It's a delightful pizza!

Important note: this is a very flexible recipe. The only way you can fail is if you kill the yeast with too hot water. The sugar is optional. The olive oil in the dough is optional. It does taste better with salt. The key thing is to work in the right amount of flour, and let the mixer do its job so you get a good rise.

Variations: Chicago style deep dish – substitute up to one cup of cornmeal for flour. When you divide the pizza, remember that you’ll need to reserve about one-third of each half for the top of the crust. Use round 8” baking pans for stuffed pizza, and try to keep the filling on the dry side. Poke a few holes in the surface to let moisture escape.

New York style: omit oil and roll it out thinner.

Whole wheat: I would start with about a cup of white flour, and then work in whole wheat from there.

Calzone: make four crusts from one recipe. Roll each into circles. Fill half with ingredients, close and pinch crust edges. Poke a few holes in the surface to release moisture. Brush with olive oil and parmesan and bake.

You can make bigger pizzas by starting with more water, say up to 1 1/3 cups.

I rarely make conventional pizzas with tomato sauce. If you’re doing something more adventurous, it’s often a good idea to brush the dough surface with olive oil before topping. It will bake up to a glorious golden brown when you do.
I frequently bake one crust and freeze the other. Just cover it with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. I find that if I begin thawing at lunchtime, it’s ready in time for dinner. Cover it with a tea towel and let it thaw in an oiled bowl, and spray some Pam or otherwise oil the surface to keep it from drying out.
To make foccacia, just roll it out thicker than usual, dimple the surface with your fingers, brush with olive oil and your favorite toppings, and bake.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Legendary Cornbread

Several years back, there was an intern at an agency I worked at. Her name was Laine, and she was from somewhere in the South (can't remember where). At the agency's Thanksgiving celebration, it was potluck and Laine brought this cornbread that was so flavorful, buttery and scrumptious that we all begged for the recipe. And even better, it's beyond easy.

Legendary Cornbread

2 sticks of butter
2 boxes Jiffy Cornbread mix
4 eggs
1 cup of cottage cheese

Melt 2 sticks of butter (yes, I said 2 sticks - this isn't good for the cholesterol, but worth it) in the bottom of a cast iron skillet.

Mix the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, then pour into cast iron skillet.

Bake on 375 for 30 minutes.

Slice it up and stay out of the way because whomever you serve this to will go crazy in disbelief of this cornbread. It is to. die. for. Extremely moist, perfect texture and wonderfully perfect flavor.

(I prefer cast iron to get that wonderfully brown crust, but it can be made in a glass 9 x 13. Also, I've made it with half the butter before and it is still very tasty.)