Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Good Salad

I really, really wanted to take a picture of dinner last night to share with y'all. But, I was just so tired, and so hungry, and it just didn't happen. I sat down and dug in. To compensate, here's a picture of a kitten.

Because this sounds like more fun than finishing my NCA submission, here is the recipe for what Dave called "one of the best salads [he'd] ever eaten." It's got a long title. Ready?

Apple, Walnut & Bacon Salad with Warm Bacon Dijon Honey Vinaigrette, served with a Whole Wheat Baguette and Homemade Honey Butter

For the salad:
First: make bacon! I prepared about 4 slices, and make sure to save the bacon grease.
In the meantime, prepare the other ingredients as follows:
Take some greens (darker the better - I used a bag of spring greens and some spinach), rinse them, place in bowls.
Top with the following:
diced apple
some toasted walnuts
gorgonzola cheese
bacon (whenever it's finished)

For the dressing:
Whisk together about a tablespoon of the reserved bacon drippings, and about a half tablespoon of each: red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey. Salt and pepper to season. Taste, and add more: honey (if you want it sweeter), vinegar (if you want it tangier) or dijon (if you want it spicier). If needed, add either more bacon drippings or olive oil if you run out of bacon grease.

For the homemade honey butter (which I plan on making ALL the time now)
Let about 2 tablespoons of butter come to room temperature. Mash together with about 1/2 tablespoon honey, and a dash of salt (if you're using unsalted butter). Try not to eat it all at once.

For the bread: HA! Did you really think I'd make a whole loaf of bread from scratch just for dinner? Well, ok, I would, but I didn't last night. Thank you, Kroger.

It's only Wednesday? Really?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Words with Friends

As I type, I am playing 8 different games of "Scrabble" with: my husband (in the next room), a favorite cousin (in Athens), 2 friends from UNA (a former communication major who now lives in Texas, I think? and a former fellow LaGrange Society member/Lafayette Hall resident who now lives in New York), 1 person from Arkansas who currently lives in Kentucky and 1 person from Kentucky who currently lives in Arkansas, a former student (who I advised in UPC and taught in Public Speaking, and who used to make me and the other students laugh so hard that it was difficult to get through class), and a pilot I met at Auburn who taught me how to hug.

Just sayin'. Not only do I have awesome friends all over the place and really funny stories for all of them, but I love playing Scrabble. So, if you don't have the "Words with Friends" app on your iPod/iPhone/iTouch yet, for the love of Scrabble please download it, and start a game with me, LBDelicious.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Perfect Carrots

On Monday, I treated myself to a trip to Harry's Whole Foods in Marietta. I don't know who Harry is but he surely does have a nice little market there on Powers Ferry! Even if you don't live in the greater Atlanta area, you are probably familiar with this store because one of the last remaining good people on Food Network, Alton Brown, frequents Harry's to film for Good Eats. I have this hope, every time I go to Harry's, that I'll run into Alton while I'm there. Well, ok, running into Curtis Stone would be better. Remember that time I met him?
From LBDelicious: Recipes and Rants

*sigh* I digress.

While in Harry's, where I usually go when I want some expensive cheese, really good bread, imported French chocolates, exotic fruits & vegetables, fresh herbs, seafood, or anniversary dinner steak, I happened upon some organic carrots. They looked something like this:

and they were just so dang cute I couldn't resist.

I passed them by twice, and both times, I heard them calling out to me, just begging to be taken home and eaten alongside my roasted chicken (which is another, lengthier post I'm working on). For this one, I didn't use a recipe at all. I just went with what I thought might work. And they were the most delicious and simple carrots I've ever eaten.

Sauteed Carrots
Wash and peel some carrots, and trim off the greens, leaving the tip of the stem. Melt about 4 tablespoons of butter in a large sautee pan (make sure to use a pan that has a lid). Add carrots to the pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover, cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Then, turn carrots so the other side cooks in the butter, cover, and cook for about 5 more minutes.

Tell me they aren't the most delicious, sweet, perfect carrots you've ever had.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

OMG Brownies.

Oh. My. Goodness. I made these brownies to take to a friend's house for a low-key New Year's Eve gathering that involved lots of Scrabble, tv and catching up on life. They are sooooo gooooood. Leave it to Nigella to come up with an amazing brownie recipe. Now, I love a good brownie mix in the box (Ghirardelli is really superior to any others), but I'm going to be hard pressed to go back to the box now that I have this little gem in my arsenal. They took work - mise en place, or setting out all your ingredients ahead of time, will serve you well here - but I cannot emphasize enough just how worth the effort these brownies are. I copied and pasted this recipe from, but I have annotated it with a few additional tips/tidbits of information.

Triple Chocolate Brownies - Nigella Lawson (from
3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chips)
6 eggs
1 3/4 cups superfine sugar (LBDelicious note: don't go buying superfine sugar. Put 1 3/4 cups of regular sugar in the blender, and turn it into "superfine" in a few seconds.)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white chocolate buttons, chips, or morsels
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate buttons, chips or morsels (I used Ghirardelli for both white and semi-sweet chocolate; brand loyal, I know, but I swear it makes a difference.)
Approximately 2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar, for garnish (totally missed that step and they were still tasty.)

Special equipment: Baking tin (approximately 11 1/4 inches by 9 inches by 2 inches), sides and base lined with baking parchment. (I used my regular old brownie pan, and actually did take the time to line the bottom and sides with parchment, then sprayed them with cooking spray.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the baking tin.

Melt the butter and dark chocolate together in a large heavy based pan over a low heat.

In a bowl, beat the eggs together with the superfine sugar and vanilla extract. (LBDelicious note: I may have added a few tablespoons of leftover coffee at this point because I love coffee and chocolate together.)

Allow the chocolate mixture to cool a little, then add the egg and sugar mixture and beat well. (LBDelicious note: worried I'd end up with chocolatey scrambled eggs, I tempered the egg mixture first by whisking in, very slowly, about a cup of the warm chocolate/butter mixture to bring up the temperature of the egg/sugar mixture. Then I slowly whisked in the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture. Turned out great.) Fold in the flour and salt. (LBDelicious: used a big ol' whisk, added the flour all at once and nearly lost half of it. Add flour gradually!) Then stir in the white chocolate buttons or chips, and the semisweet chocolate buttons or chips. Beat to combine then scrape and pour the brownie mixture into the prepared tin. (LBDelicious note: no one will judge you if you purposely don't scrape all the mixture into the pan because you want to eat a good 1/3 cup of the brownie batter.)

Bake for about 25 (LBDelicious note: 30) minutes. You can see when the brownies are ready because the top dries to a slightly paler brown speckle, while the middle remains dark, dense and gooey.

Allow to cool, cut and enjoy.

And, for added fun, after they've cooled, pop one in the microwave for a few seconds, then top it with a scoop of ice cream (we happen to have Edy's Slow-Churned Low-Fat Caramel in the freezer).