Pumpkin Focaccia with Gruyere and Walnuts

030 One of these days on an episode of the Walking Dead…………

001They will find a whole truck of pumpkin puree and all of their problems will be solved.

006

Their “hunt for food” problems anyway.

010They will still have a significant number of “zombie apocalypse” problems.

023I digress.

024Canned pumpkin is amazing and it can last forever.

043I don’t know what makes pumpkin shelf-stabilize so well.

035  I don’t ask questions I don’t want to know the answer to.

054With how good this bread is, you won’t want to know either.

Pumpkin Focaccia with Gruyere and Walnuts
 
Author:

 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)
  • 3½ cups bread flour, divided (about 15¾ ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1.5 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1.5 cups (3 ounces) grated Gruyère cheese, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon cornmeal
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. Combine water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour and butter to yeast mixture; stir just until combined. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes.
  2. Add pumpkin, salt, and nutmeg to flour mixture; stir until well combined. Add 2¼ cups flour and half of cheese; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining ¼ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
  3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide dough in half; shape each half into an 8-inch circle. Place dough circles on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle remaining cheese and nuts evenly over dough circles; press lightly to adhere. Lightly coat dough circles with cooking spray; cover and let rise 20 minutes (dough will not double in size).
  4. Preheat oven to 400°.
  5. Uncover dough; bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until loaves are browned on the bottom and cheese melts (shield loaves with foil to prevent overbrowning, if necessary). Cool on a wire rack.

 

 

 

Idaho Potatoes Rule

079I’m kind of a big deal in Idaho. You read that correctly.

171Since I just won part of a photo competition for Idaho potatoes.

082I worked verrrrrrrrry hard eating all those carbs. So did Joe. 106So did the buttons on our pants.

093So, if you find yourself in Idaho, it’s OK to name drop. It’s my new favorite state.

You can check out the winning photos here….

http://www.idahopotato.com/recipe_photo_contest_winners

 

 

 

Tomato and Goat Cheese Scones

DSC_0063

It’s a lazy day at the dog park.

054Not for Grendel, who is running around like he just escaped from prison.

068

035But we don’t mind.

063Grendel is a 70 pound pit bull. We like it when he’s tired. Reeeeeally tired.

024All of Grendel’s friends are here. Lulu, Finley and Razzle. And Clive. Hi, Clive.

043

Tearing him away from the dog park is hard because he tries to run away from us when we try and take him home. I think I literally heard him say “Catch me if you can, suckers.”

DSC_0130But we have warm tomato and goat cheese scones waiting for us at home.

DSC_0113-(4)

Look how beautiful.

DSC_0145They taste better than Grendel’s ball. Guaranteed or your money back.

086

Tomato and Goat Cheese Scones
 
Author:

 
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ½ cup (1 stick) frozen unsalted butter, chopped into small cubes
  • 4 ounces chilled goat cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, baking soda, and mustard powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the butter over the flour and pulse until the butter has become the size of small peas, about 5-6 pulses. Add the goat cheese, buttermilk, sun-dried tomatoes, and parsley, and pulse until the mixture just begins to combine. (It should still look shaggy and dry, but squish together when you press it with your fingers.)
  2. Turn the mixture onto a sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper sheet. Pat the dough into a rectangle, about 1 inch thick. Transfer to the freezer to firm up, about 30 minutes. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough lengthwise into 1¼-inch strips, then cut 1¼ inch strips crosswise to form squares. Cut each square diagonally to make triangles. Pull them apart just a little bit (to allow room to expand) and transfer the pan back to the freezer. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of thirty minutes, or overnight. (To make large wedges, pat the dough into two equal round discs, then cut into wedges.)
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly brush the dough with egg wash and bake (on the same pan on which they were frozen) until the scones are golden and firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

The Perfect Bloody Mary

083

We took Joe’s mom Nancy to the St. Regis this week for high tea.

100

We’re so fancy.

077

They have a lovely tea service.

067

But the St.Regis is also known for something else.

082

The Old King Cole bar …which is the birthplace of the Bloody Mary.

090In those days, no one liked the name “Bloody Mary” so they called it the “Red Snapper”.  Newsflash- naming a cocktail after a fish is equally poor.

So, I was inspired to make my own Bloody Mary this week, with homemade tomato-infused vodka.

Tomato vodka, meet your brothers and sisters.

011

The best Bloody Mary’s are actually made by my friend Susana. But since she is lukewarm about coming down to my apartment every time I would like one, I decided I had better perfect my own version.

018

The real secret is adding Bloody Mary ice cubes so it doesn’t water down the drink.

098

It’s as close as you can get to the perfect Bloody Mary …

108

Other than having Susana come to your house and make it for you..

118

The Perfect Bloody Mary
 
Author:

 
I infused the vodka in this recipe for 2 weeks. I don’t actually think that makes a difference in the taste other than in my own head. Oh well. Tomato, tomaaahto.
Ingredients
  • 1¾ pounds cherry or grape tomatoes, rinsed and dried
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 6 ounces tomato vodka, recipe follows
  • Tomato Vodka:
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle 80 proof vodka
Instructions
  1. Remove the stems from the tomatoes. Put the tomatoes, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and salt into a blender, cover and blend on high speed for 1½ minutes.
  2. Fill an ice cube tray with about 2 cups of the juice and freeze overnight. Pour the remaining juice into a lidded container and reserve, on the counter, overnight.
  3. Just before serving, put 3 frozen cubes into each of 4 Collins glasses and add 1½ ounces of vodka to each glass. Stir the reserved juice, pour 4 ounces into each glass and serve immediately.
  4. Tomato Vodka:
  5. Cut each of the tomatoes into 8 pieces and put them into a large glass jar. Add the vodka, stir to combine, and cover. Put in a cool, dark place for at least 5 days and up to 7 days, stirring every day. After 7 days, strain through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids.
  6. To store, pour the tomato vodka back into its original bottle, and keep in a cool, dark place.

 

 

Vote for me!!!

I have seen a lot of duck over the last few weeks.

Thats not a euphemism for something, I have entered a Duck Cooking Contest.

And I need your vote to win.

055

From now until Oct 11th, please click on the link to vote for my duck dish.  You can vote every day.

If I win, I promise I will make this for you all.

146

Or, if you don’t like duck, I promise I won’t.

 

 

 

Zucchini Butter

155We were thrilled to be able to attend this year’s Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival.

082But more excited to be able to attend the private brunch at Marble House before the event with dazzling French winemaker Sacha Lichine.  Who makes the most amazing wine we have ever tasted.

109

086

085116

Incidentally look how comfy Joe is starting to look at these shindigs. Oh nevermind, I think he’s just drunk.

115I mean, this party was faaaaaancy.

098How do I know?125

Dudes in ascots.  Tool.167

The food was divine.

161208

205

Handmade truffles? Yes, please.

212And the wine….oh the wine….

153

198

147152The best wine by far was made by our new friend, Sacha Lichine. Do yourself a big favor and find a few bottles.  They are all phenomenal but The Whispering Angel and the Garrus are beyond spectacular.

087

Oh, and there was one other reason for attending the festival.

157I almost forgot. In all her matching denim glory, the queen…………..

photo (1)“I’m your number 1 fan”…………..Shit, is that too Kathy Bates??

247Probably. Since all she wanted to do was chat with Joe.

228I accept it. For those who know me, this is about as far as the police will let me stand near Martha.

174 Although that doesn’t stop me from dressing like a bush and hiding behind a tree to see her.

182

This is the zucchini butter recipe I imagine serving to Martha when she pops over for brunch.

004013038034This is the way I use zucchini butter in an appetizer when Martha comes over to my parties.003029This is the zucchini butter I will slather on toast and top with a fried egg for breakfast when Martha asks to crash at our pad after drinking too much Garrus.268

And when she stays for dinner, this is the zucchini butter pizza I will serve her.056I think I hear the authorities knocking. Enjoy the zucchini butter.

Zucchini Butter
 
Author:

 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds zucchini
  • ¼cup olive oil or butter
  • 2minced shallots, garlic, or combination of both
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Coarsely grate the zucchini. Let it drain in a colander for 3 to 4 minutes or until you are ready to begin cooking. To hasten cooking time, squeeze the water out of the zucchini by wringing it in a clean cloth towel.
  2. In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil/butter. Sauté the shallots or garlic briefly. Add the zucchini and toss. Cook and stir over medium to medium-high heat until the zucchini reaches a spreadable consistency, about 15 minutes. If you scorch the bottom, turn the flame down! (And scrape those delicious bits into the butter for added flavor — you can splash in a little water to help deglaze the pan.) The zucchini will hold its bright green color and slowly caramelize into a nice vegetable jam.

 

Peaches with Cava

171

There’s something unnatural about fruit desserts.

001

It’s like watching Toddler’s and Tiara’s.

005There’s something about it that’s just not quite right.

009But if you add some wine, it makes it all better.

002

Suddenly realizing why I never became a school teacher.

184

But at least I’m not a pageant mom.

Cava with Peaches
 
Author:

 
Just to make sure your waistline really suffers for the sacrifice of eating a fruit dessert, add some fresh whipped cream and nuts.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle Cava or other sparkling wine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 cups sliced peaches (about 2 pounds)
Instructions
  1. Combine lemon zest and Cava in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until reduced to 1 cup (about 15 minutes). Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Add sliced peaches; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Cover and chill.

 

 

Breaded Avocado Bites with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce

134

On any given Sunday….

102

We are antiquing, fruit picking or at Bed Bath and Beyond.

080

As much as Joe tries to convince me that he enjoys these activities more than laying on the couch watching football, I suspect it is not true.084

Ok, Joe. Have your football today. My job is to make you a football watching snack.

117

Breaded avocado with a cilantro lime dipping sauce.

127

Even better?

113

Make the leftovers into tacos.

144

Touchdown.

 

Breaded Avocado Bites with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce
 
 
Ingredients
  • •1/4 cup flour
  • •1 tsp kosher salt
  • •2 large eggs, beaten
  • •1¼ cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • •2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into ½-in. wedges
  • Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Coat avocado slices in the four, then egg, then panko. Spread on a cooling rack that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, then place on a cookie sheet. Spray the top of the wedges with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then bake for about 20 minutes at 450, or until they are golden brown (I turned my oven up to 500 for the last 5 minutes).
Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce
 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about ½ lime), more to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1½ tsp. white wine vinegar
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

 

Zucchini Chips

056

When Lay’s started making flavored chips like Cappucino and Chicken and Waffles, I thought it may be time to give up the salty snack dream.

004

Rest assured, waistline,  I figured out that zucchini is a natural fit for a chip.

012

Just a light dust of olive oil.

018

With your olive oil duster.

020

Joe, don’t be mad. I NEEDED it.

057

They come out crispy and light and incredibly addictive.

033

Betcha can’t eat just one.

038

 

Zucchini Chips
 
 
It’s no secret. This recipe is a pain in the ass. Do not pay attention to other recipes you may find on the internet, which will have the fire department at your house in 15 minutes. Don’t ask me how I know. Invest in the mister and hold tight to your patience and this recipe will change the way you look at chips forever.
Ingredients
  • 2 Zucchinis, sliced thin but not too thin with a mandolin
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Slice up your zucchini with the mandolin, then blot with a paper towel and let dry on a baking sheet for at least an hour, not more than 2 hours
  2. Place the slices on silicon lined baking sheets. You will need at least 2 baking sheets but rent a movie cause its gonna be a while.
  3. Spray with an olive oil mister. If you drizzle with olive oil, the chips will over saturate and come out soggy.
  4. Sprinkle conservatively with sea salt. Be careful, if you oversalt, the chips will shrink and no one likes shrinkage. Seriously.
  5. Bake at 225 for 2+ hours. At 90 minute mark, flip chips over to brown evenly.
  6. Remove chips and let cool on a wire rack.
  7. Eat them 2 at a time because they are amazing.

 

 

 

 

Grilled Romaine with Bacon Dressing and Blue Cheese

025

Grilling a salad?

008

What the fork?

020

Yup, it tastes great.

027

Which proves you can put just about anything on the grill and make it taste good.

054

One word of caution.

085

Does not work with dead houseplants.

075

Don’t ask me how I know.

073

 

091

 

Grilled Romaine with Bacon and Blue Cheese
 
Author:

 
Ingredients
  • 6 strips bacon
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 heads romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise, rinsed and dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
Instructions
  1. Heat bacon in a 12″ skillet over medium heat, and cook, turning once, until crisp and fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate, reserving 2 tbsp. drippings, and let cool; crumble and set aside. Transfer reserved drippings to a bowl, and add oil, vinegar, and Worcestershire; whisk until smooth, and set dressing aside.
  2. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat.) Working in batches, if necessary, place romaine halves cut-side down on grill, and cook, turning once, until charred and slightly wilted, about 4 minutes.
  3. Transfer lettuce cut-side up to a serving platter, and season with salt and pepper; drizzle with dressing, and sprinkle with reserved bacon and blue cheese.

 

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