Daring Cooks | Parsley, Sage and Sweet

A Shocking Loss

November 15, 2013 at 12:03 am | Posted in Daring Bakers, Daring Cooks | 37 Comments
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I know I haven’t been around in a long, long time and I do owe you all an explanation, but for now, there’s something more important I need to touch on.  I will be back..and definitely back soon with the end of the BBFL story, but at this moment, I need to talk about a wonderful, amazing lady.

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If you’re a regular reader of my blog, when I’ve put up Daring Bakers or Daring Cooks challenge posts, you’ve probably seen me talk about my friend, Lis, on occasion- the co-founder of The Daring Kitchen, – the girl I jokingly referred to as wifeypoo.

Continue Reading A Shocking Loss…

Tourte Milanese – A Meal en Croute

May 18, 2013 at 5:11 am | Posted in Breakfast, Daring Cooks, Dinner, Lunch, Pastry, Rainbow, Vegetables | 89 Comments
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Remember when I told you about the computer crash of 2010 where I lost almost everything?  It was mainly tons of photos of some of the best goodies I’ve ever made, most of them pretty labor intensive.  You see, I was on this roll from September 2010 to January 2011 – a fancy shmancy crazy roll.  Once or twice a week I was creating showstopping sweet and savory dishes like they were going out of style, and as luck would have it, getting some good clicks of them.

Tourte Milanese - layers of herbed eggs, ham or turkey, cheese and vegetables encased in puff pastry!  A great brunch stunner and easy!

It was an amazing food blog run.  I had about 7 posts lined up.  The posts weren’t written, but the photos were ready – tucked in and snug as a bug in a rug in my photo program waiting until I was ready to write and post.  Then..the crash.

Continue Reading Tourte Milanese – A Meal en Croute…

My Daring Cooks Challenge – Deboning a Whole Chicken for Chicken Ballotine or Galantine

April 14, 2013 at 12:00 am | Posted in Daring Cooks, Dinner, Holiday, Poultry, Vegetables | 65 Comments
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Before I say one word about this challenge, a warning.  Vegetarians and vegans (In my best Melissa McCarthy impersonation) LOOK AWAY! LOOK AWAY!

Ballotine of Chicken with Red Rice Stuffing

Make No Bones About It!

Thanks to Renee from Don’t Make Me Call My Flying Monkeys (Awesome blog name).  They’re not dead – just boneless. Created by Gary Larson

Continue Reading My Daring Cooks Challenge – Deboning a Whole Chicken for Chicken Ballotine or Galantine…

Maple Brined Ancho-Scallion Boneless Turkey Breast with Apple-Butter Pecan Stuffing

November 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Posted in Breads, Daring Cooks, Dinner, Holiday, Poultry, Vegetables | 56 Comments
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Damn, I thought Thanksgiving was the 29th because Thanksgiving is usually the last Thursday in November.  Oh, boy, this is the trick of the trick or treat for real – the ultimate “Ha ha…you better get your ass in gear!” moment.  I think Hurricane Sandy left me a little off-kilter, but I’ll get to that later.


You see, for this month’s Daring Cook’s challenge, which is all about brining meat and/or vegetables, then roasting, which  I’m late to as usual, I decided to brine a whole turkey breast, then layer it with more flavors – like a compound butter rub, then stuff, roll, and tie it for a lovely Thanksgiving treat for those who don’t want to roast a whole turkey.

Continue Reading Maple Brined Ancho-Scallion Boneless Turkey Breast with Apple-Butter Pecan Stuffing…

Potato Rosti with Bacon, Brie, Scallions and a Quick and Easy Brown Butter Applesauce – Plus, Bad Boy First Love, Part Four.

February 15, 2012 at 2:44 am | Posted in Breakfast, Daring Cooks, Dinner, Gluten Free, Pork, Vegetables | 44 Comments
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Happy Valentines Day, err, Eve, everyone!  I had this post scheduled to go up at 5pm last night.  Apparently I didn’t use GMT, so it’s now the 15th.  Well, it’s still Valentine’s Day on the West Coast! I hope you all had an amazing day and are now getting your lips kissed off – or eating chocolate.

Since I have Part Four of my Bad Boy First Love written and it’s like a mile long, I’m going to try and keep my Daring Cooks section as short and sweet as I can.  We were asked to make fried patties of some sort, and one of the recipes offered to us was potato rosti, which is sort of a mix between a giant potato latke and hash browns.  I added bacon lardons, scallions and brie to mine.  It was suggested that the use of a cast iron skillet was ideal, and I have three; an 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch, all well-seasoned, or so I thought.


Once the underside of my rosti was cooked, some careful inspection revealed there was no way I was flipping this baby over without it falling apart. SO, I stuck it under the broiler to finish it and brown the top.  We cut slices out of the pan, and it came out well, but it still would have broken into pieces had I tried to flip it.

I topped some slices with a sunny side up egg with roasted red bell pepper hearts (cutting the egg into a heart shape proved difficult since the white was so delicate and thin in some areas, but I did my best, and I think it still resembles somewhat of a heart ??).  For the rest of the rosti, I made a super quick brown butter chunky applesauce to top it, which was absolutely wonderful.

The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax (my pal) & Lis (one of my wifeypoos) and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties.

The next time I make a potato rosti, I will use a non-stick pan, or make damn sure my cast iron skillet is VERY well seasoned, and I will definitely use an 8-inch pan since I halved the recipe, and 10-inches gave me a rather thin rosti.  I prefer them a little thicker.

Now to Part Four, very apropos for Valentines Day eve, I think..until the twist.  For those reading for the first time, Part One is HERE.  Part Two is HERE . Part Three is HERE.


After drowning out my Mother’s yelling, I fell asleep, just to be nudged awake by my friend only a few short hours later.  We always hit the beach by 10 am at the latest and went all the way until 4 to 5 pm.  A savage tan was always the goal.  Crazy to even imagine it now – I don’t even entertain the idea of the beach without 1 billion UVB sunblock!  Being super young and feeling immortal is fun while it lasts.  I’m a staunch supporter of the occasional spray tan, nowadays.

On our way out the door, my mother warned me she was going to go to a pay phone and call my father (the cottage had no phone, but when you’re at the beach you really don’t care) to inform him we’d been sneaking out.  I blew off her threatening words as we pushed the door open and got the hell out of there.

After a breakfast of orange julius, we made our way to the most populated area of the beach…the one between the two piers.  We always rented places at the end of the boardwalk near Ortley Beach and usually used the less crowded beach there, but it really depended on our moods.  On that particular day we wanted quick access to some clothes and accessories we were eyeing at Sand Tropez, a cool sort of ‘everything’ store on the boardwalk.

I was still floating on air as we trudged through the hot sand to grab a spot close to the ocean.  I knew my friend wanted to talk about everything, but I just couldn’t give it all up..it was so special, so personal (little did I know, many years later, I would be giving every detail to a lot of people I don’t know, on a food blog no less!).

“Yes, we kissed, but I spilled lemonade all over his lap in the middle of it” I told her as I slathered bain de soleil up and down my arms,  We cracked up as I explained the whole scenario in more detail.

“Was he good kisser?”  she asked

That part, I also couldn’t contain, and I went all googly 15 year old on her.  “OMG, the best, we made out for hours!  I’m in love.  I know it sounds weird, but it’s for real.!”

She looked over at me, squinting, using her hand as a visor to shield her eyes from the bright sun, “You just met him, you can’t love him!” She said, laughing.

I just smiled and settled in to bake, Oh, little did she know.  I knew she was going to ask more questions so I quickly asked her about her night,  It was strange, but I needed to keep it all to myself for a while.  There was something so, so sacred about it, like if I told her all the details, the magic we had would blow away in wind and I’d never get it back.

Luckily, she bit.  She liked hunky monkey, but apparently he couldn’t keep his ‘paws’ off of her once they had some time alone.  He didn’t force it, but it left her kind of ‘meh’ on him.  But, she wanted to see him again, so he hadn’t been kicked to the friend , or worse, pig zone, just yet.

While we played in the ocean, baked in the sun, joked with guys who came armed with bad pick-up lines, and made up ‘pretend’ stories about people lounging around us..I couldn’t help looking over at the pier every so often, butterflies zipping through my digestive system, knowing he’d be there at 4pm, and then, at midnight, we’d meet again.  I kept replaying the night/early morning over and over in my head.  I could still smell him on me..especially in the crook of my left arm, which I’d bury my face in when lying on my stomach to even my tan.

On our way back to the cottage, well-baked, happy and exhausted from doing nothing, we passed the Casino Pier.  She grabbed my arm and pulled..

“Come on, go say hi to him now!”  she exclaimed, laughing hysterically.  She knew there was no way I’d show my NOT showered, ocean-haired, greasy skinned ‘self’ to him.  We pulled back and forth – screaming and laughing even harder.

I bet you can guess what happened.  I turned around and there he was, walking toward us – he’d taken a quick break to buy some sodas.

OH NO. OH NO. OH NO.  Now it was over for sure!  I quickly pulled my sticky, tangled hair out of the pony tail holder and fluffed as best I could.

Then. I started plotting my friend’s sudden death.

“Just get off the beach, silly girls?”  he asked as he approached us.  That smile again.  JELL-O legs.

He took my hand and pulled me to him for a kiss, then wrapped his arms around me.  I was so gross!  How could he even look at me, much less touch me!?!

“Mmmm…your skin is so warm – you smell like a pina colada.” He whispered while my friend, a few feet away now, watched us with a wicked smile.

I started explaining why I looked so hideous.  He laughed and told me I was “too cute” and looked beautiful.  I hadn’t realized he had such bad eyesight.

He lightly rolled a cold soda can down my back..which initially made me jump, but felt good in the heat.  Then he asked if all went well when I went inside after he dropped me off.  I told him the truth, leaving out the ‘curfew’ and ‘snuck out’ part, making it as if she was just pissed because she couldn’t sleep when it got really late and I wasn’t home.  He looked concerned, then said;

“Would it be better if we picked you up tonight so you don’t have to walk all the way down the boardwalk that late?  I’ll turn off the ignition and coast to the house next door, so we don’t wake her up.”

Potato Rosti with Bacon, Brie, Scallions and a Quick and Easy Brown Butter Applesauce

He was too awesome for words.  I wondered how many lives I’d saved in my previous life.

I looked at my friend and she flashed me an affirmative with her eyes.  Remember, we had ‘brain wave’ communication skills.

“That would be great, you’re so thoughtful..thank you so much.” I said, sweetly.

“You’re so polite.” He said, pulling me back to him for another kiss.  DAMN..can spontaneous combustion occur from one, little kiss?

“I’ll be there about quarter after midnight, okay?” He said pushing my disgusting hair back, his finger getting tangled in a greasy strand.  I wanted to die, but then he gave me a reassuring smile, laughing as he untangled it.

“Yes, perfect!” I replied too eagerly, but I didn’t think it was necessary to play it cool anymore. *I love you..I know I love you, I can’t explain what else this feeling is, but you saw me looking like this, and still want me – I am definitely in love with you*

Stop by tonight and visit me if you’re around the pier”  He said, kissing my cheek a few times then turning to leave.  I watched him walk away, mesmerized and still in utter disbelief that this man wanted me.

As we turned and started home, I got a whole bunch of “Are you going to thank me, huh? huh?” cracks from my friend.

Little did she know how precariously close to death she had been had he walked away in horror.

When we got back to the cottage, we showered then napped for about two hours.  During a quick dinner of chicken salad sandwiches, we devised a plan to sneak out without getting caught now that Mommy Dearest was on to us. We’d stay in tonight, just hang outside with our new local girl friends.  No ‘getting ready’ while my mother was awake, just a casual night in the neighborhood.  Then we’d get ready and stuff clothes and whatever we could find that resembled heads, under our blankets.  An oldie, but goodie.

All was perfect come midnight.  My mother bought our ‘casual night’ at home and conked out around 10:30 pm.  After confirming she was asleep for the long haul with some loud noises, we rushed to get ready..brushing our teeth, flipping and fluffing our hair in unison in front of the mirror, applying lip gloss, dabbing the sunburn on our noses with cover-up.  Earrings in, then a walk through a spritz of our favorite scents.  We were out the door by 10 after midnight.  Within minutes they were coasting up, headlights off.

When I settled into the front seat, he said he had a surprise for me,  He motioned toward a cup holder attached to the door next to me.  I laughed, but almost cried at his gesture.  I wanted to kiss his face all over – but saved that for when we were alone.  No need to disgust the backseat occupants chatting away about some obscure movie the monkey wanted to see.


We dropped my friend and hunky monkey off at his place, then he asked if I minded if we stopped at a friend’s house because he had to pick up some CD’s.  Like I said in previous parts of this story, as long as I was with him, I could watch paint dry.  Onward to your friend’s place, future husband – but really…

“Sure, that’s fine” trying to keep my voice from squeaking because I was way too overjoyed being in his intoxicating, foxy presence.

Then came the face kissing to thank him for the cup holder.  He laughed, even his laugh was perfect.. *Is it okay for the woman to propose?*

When we got there, his friend was hanging with his girlfriend watching TV.  Introductions all around.  Dreamboat came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist, kissing my cheek as he and his friend talked.  I loved his affection, it was like being showered in warm, melted chocolate.  We stayed for about a half-hour, Dreamboat always near, holding my hand or keeping his arm around me.  I chatted with his friend’s girlfriend a bit and she told me how many woman were after my bad boy.  Great, just what I needed to hear.  I told her I’d seen it with my own eyes.  She laughed and said..

“He’s like a rock star on the pier, does it bother you?”

A little, I thought, but actually said  “Noo, not at all, I mean, he doesn’t even seem to notice it, he’s so down to earth and cool about it.”, patting myself on the back for such a brilliant, but chill, answer.

“He’s a really great guy, and he’s really into you - I’ve never seen him like this with anyone.” she said very nonchalantly while sipping her beer and glancing at a commercial about bed bugs.

Obviously I wasn’t the first girl who did a stint at Andy’s.  It didn’t bother me one bit, though because there was no way this guy was dateless and celibate before me.  I just hoped I was the one who stuck.  Wait, make that desperately hoped.

When we finally left..he told me he’d take me anywhere I wanted to go.  I wanted to go back to ‘our place’, the scene of the lemonade disaster.  He held my hand as he drove, in between switching gears.  The connection between us was crazy intense, just holding his hand sent all kinds of sexy reverberations from the tips of my toes to the hair on my head.

He kissed my lips off again for the next 2 1/2 to 3 hours, in between a walk along the bay, lots of playfulness, pure joy, and again, a monster connection.  I almost told him I loved him – but stopped short. You just couldn’t say that on a second date, it was impossible – we were feeling the ‘newness’, right?  Scratch that.  I KNEW I loved him by then.  I don’t care how crazy it sounds, it was there and it wasn’t going away anytime soon.  Thank god I had 8 days left with him.

The next night was much of the same, except we played on the boardwalk a while, then went to a secluded beach in Seaside Park – laying down a blanket and just staring into each other’s eyes in the moonlight, in between major make-out sessions, again.  This little romance was turning into a mix of every early Bruce Springsteen song where he falls in love beneath the stars over the boardwalk, under the boardwalk, on the avenue, beneath the carnival lights etc.

We had to pick up my friend and hunky monkey that night, so we said our real goodbye before we went to get them.  He told me he had the following Sunday off, all day and night  and he’d love to finally be able to take me out at a reasonable hour. *Any hour with you is more than reasonable – I’d go out with you every night from midnight on, forever, if need be.”

“We could drive down to LBI (Long Beach Island). ..there’s a lot of beautiful beaches there, then go out for an early dinner, maybe see a movie.” He suggested while stroking my hair.

I felt like standing up and jumping up and down like a little kid – not unlike one Friday night when I was 9 and  my father surprised me and my sister, telling us we were going to Six Flags Great Adventure the very next day.

I could spend a whole day and evening with him worry free, no sneaking out. I couldn’t wipe the damn, ’15 year old’ goofy smile off of my face as I pictured us doing all kinds of romantic stuff all day and night long.  I felt so grown-up, especially since I hadn’t been on many ‘dates’, unless you count pizza after school on a Friday, a date.

We made our usual plans for the next night, took forever to say goodbye, then drove to pick up the music/movie connoisseurs.

Potato Rosti Napoleon?  I just sandwiched three slices of rosti with some extra brie and put it in the oven for a few minutes. A glorious tasting mess!

My friend and I had them drop us off on the corner, not wanting to chance my mother being up and looking out the window.  As we walked up the street, I saw my father in the driveway  packing up the car.  It was 3:30 am!  What the…?  It was also a Thursday night, why was he here??  He wasn’t here at midnight when we snuck out!

I ran with all my might right up to him.

“What are you doing here?  It’s not the weekend, and why are you packing up the car?  That’s one of my suitcases!!” I questioned loudly, in a panic.

He ignored me and politely asked my friend to go pack up her stuff.  We were leaving because we kept sneaking out and my mother had called him yet again in distress.  He got in the car at almost 1 am and made the drive to destroy my life forever.

“BUT WE HAVE 8 DAYS LEFT!!  YOU’RE GOING TO LOSE MONEY!” I screamed, trying to sort of reason with him – anything to get him to change his mind.

“I don’t care, enough is enough, you continued to sneak out even when warned, you blew it, not me, not your mother” He said as he continued loading suitcases into the trunk, not once looking at me.

I begged I pleaded, I cried – all to no avail.  Then I ran down the street in hopes that Dreamboat and Hunky Monkey hadn’t gotten that far yet.  Maybe they were stuck at a really long red light, I pleaded to fate.  I ran as fast I could, stopping and spinning around at points, looking desperately for the navy blue Beetle.  I had to tell him, we hadn’t exchanged any of the vital info yet, like last names, phone #’s etc.  I could barely catch my breath..I was almost hyperventilating and my heart was pounding ferociously in my ears,  I was also shaking like a leaf, rivers of tears streaming down my face. It was all very The Notebook-y and all very over if I didn’t find him.

He was going to think I just up and left him.  I was going to shrivel up and die without him.  No Sunday, no more of his kisses.  I’d probably never see him again.

I sobbed as I walked back to the cottage.  Of course, as an adult, I would probably do the same if my teenage daughter was sneaking out every night – with older boys, but the 15-year old me felt it was the most awful thing any parent could do to their child.

The best 3 nights of my entire life, and it was over…just like that.

The car ride back home was NOT pleasant, to say the least.

Part Five coming soon.

If you have a few minutes, please check out some of the unique, creative and delicious patties my fellow Daring Cooks came up with, by clicking on the links to their blogs, HERE.  For a bounty of recipes for all kinds of patties, from the challenge, click HERE.

Rest in Peace Whitney Houston.  The tragic loss of a beautiful woman with the voice of angel.

Potato Rosti with Brie, Bacon and Scallions
Servings: makes two large rosti
Adapted from a family recipe from the Daring Kitchen, with my additions
2 1/2 lbs russet potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons feshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons cornstarch, or use all-purpose flour
1 lb slab bacon without the rind, or thick cut bacon
7 oz wheel of Brie or any other good melting cheese you like.  Great with cheddar!
! bunch scallions, sliced, dark ends saved for garnish
3 tablespoons oil, for frying

DIRECTIONS:
1.  Dice bacon into cubes and fry until fat is rendered and it’s a deep rust color. Strain off bacon grease and save for another use. Set aside on a paper towel in a bowl.

2. Cut white, papery rind off of brie (you can keep it onI prefer it off).  Dice into small cubes, or shred, if brie is cold and firm.

3. Slice white and light green parts on the diagonal.  Save dark green slices, also sliced on the diagonal, for garnish.

4. Grate the peeled potatoes with a box grater or a food processor shredding disk.5. Wrap the grated potato in a cloth and squeeze dry, you will get a lot of liquid over ½ cup, discard liquid since it is full of potato starch. Return dried potato to bowl add the egg, brie, bacon, scallions, cornstarch, pepper, and salt. Mix until combined.

6. Preheat a frying pan (a well seasoned cast iron is best,  8 to 10-inch) until medium hot, add 2 teaspoons of oil wait until oil shimmers.

7. Place half of mixture into the pan, flatten with a spoon until you get a smooth flat surface. Lower heat to medium.

8. Fry for 8-10 minutes (check at 6 minutes) the first side, flip by sliding the rösti onto a plate then use another plate invert the rösti then slide it back into the pan, then fry the other side about 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Repeat to make another rosti.

Quick and Easy Brown Butter Cinnamon Apple Sauce
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick – 4 tablespoons - 2 oz)
4 large Granny Smith (or any tart apples), apples – peeled, cored and chopped into cubes.
1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar, entirely depending on how sweet you like it
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 good pinch kosher salt

DIRECTIONS:
1.  In a large saute pan, melt the butter on medium low heat.  Raise the heat to medium and cook the butter until the liquid beneath the milk solids that rise to the top is golden brown.

2.  Add the chopped apples to the browned butter and saute until the apples start to soften.  Sprinkle on the sugar and let the apples caramelize in the sugar, stirring until the apples are caramelized and soft  Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon, vanilla bean or extract and kosher salt.

3.  Pour the apple mixture into a bowl, scraping out all the caramel goodness left in the pan. Mash with a fork for chunky apple sauce, or give it a whirl in the food processor (or use a blender or stick blender) for a smooth apple sauce.  When cool, place in an airtight container in the fridge – it should last about 2 weeks, or serve warm over potato rosti.


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