What the Duck? A friend of mine was visiting from out of town and he was going through some life changing events. He decided he was going to be more adventurous when it came to the foods he ate, so Pepé and I suggested a […]
You say tomato, I say tomato! Tomato, tomato… I recently found this video and I just have to share it with you because I think you will enjoy it. It has so many things I like even if it reminds me that I’m older than […]
Living in the Midwest was especially cool this year because we got to experience the solar eclipse. Our wonderful friends (Ann and Rick) were gracious enough to host a spectacular Eclipsapalooza party in Columbia, Missouri. It’s only a one and a half hour drive from us, so we packed up the car and headed south. Pasta salad, Pepé and Claude in tow. They were expecting quite a few guests so there weren’t enough rooms for us to stay in the house, so we set up our tent in their backyard. We had a few other campers, but most either lived near by or stayed in a local hotel.
A freind of ours, (Ram) took this amazing photo of the eclipe and was kind enough to share it with us.
A couple of days earlier my hubby and I were sitting by the pool and I said, “should we take Pepé and Claude?” My husband said, “sure, why not?” I mentioned that they didn’t have proper eclipse glasses, but my hubby reminded me that I was capable of making them. So, that it was I did.
Here’s a picture of Pepé and Claude wearing their glasses in our tent next to the coffee maker. Claude insisted that we bring some Irish Cream Liqueur to add to our coffee.
These are very custom made eclipse glasses. Claude’s head is 1/2” bigger than Pepé’s so I made sure that each pair fit perfectly. One thing that didn’t cross my mind in this process was how they were going to wear them. Once I was done making the glasses and I tried to put them on my little friends, I noticed that neither of them have ears. This might be one of the reasons that they never listen to me when I’m telling them what to do in the kitchen or wherever. LOL No worries, I was able to use some kitchen twine to tie them behind their heads. Perfect! We are now ready to go!
I have to point out the five blueberry pies that one of the guests (Mary) made. They are made from blueberries that grow in her own yard and the pies are decorated like the various stages of the eclipse. Very creative. There were so many amazing and creative dishes that I’m not going spend much space highlighting my humble, but easy pasta salad. It’s really super easy and I don’t think all the photos are necessary.
Did I mention the band? The band was really great. Can’t wait to hear them play again some day.
Easy Pasta Salad
- 12 Ounces Tri-Color Rotini Pasta
- 16 Ounces Cherry Tomatoes (or any tomato cut up into about the same size)
- 1 Large Cucumber
- 1 Medium Red Onion
- 8 Ounces Italian Salad Dressing
- 10 Ounces Queso Fresco Mexican Cheese (or Feta or Cheddar)
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Boil pasta per package instructions. I like mine a little al dente, so I usually cut 1 or 2 minutes off the suggested boiling time. Plus, this will help if the salad is being made in advance. You don’t want soggy, mushy pasta.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in quarters.
- Slice the cucumber in about 1/4” - 3/8” thick then quarter those slices.
- Slice onions about the same size.
- Toss all in a large bowl, crumble cheese on top, add dressing, salt and pepper, stir and enjoy.
Presto! It’s Pesto I couldn’t help but take a picture of Pepé next to these basil plants. I was showing a friend how big the plants have grown. He laughed and said, “It looks like Pepé’s tree house.” I think Pepé would really dislike living […]
Pepé said, “Oh la la… What a nice rack!” Alright, alright… calm down everyone. He was talking about the herb crusted rack of lamb. Where was your mind? Pepé was all excited because he thought he was going to get to “French” the rack of […]
You’ll Never Want Store Bought Croutons Again!
People get all worked up about carbs and how they are somehow evil, but I believe in eating from all the food groups in good balance. And Pepé, well he’s French, so of course he likes his bread. He would sleep on a mattress made of bread if I let him. I have never been a huge fan of croutons and will most likely pick them out of most salads because I don’t like when you try to put your fork in one and they shatter. I started making my own croutons because I ran out of the store bought kind and my hubby does like croutons in his salad. I happened to have a big rustic loaf of roasted garlic bread, so I made my own. I have never bought another package of croutons from the store again. You will find these croutons in my Caesar salad as well as my Panzanella salad recipe. My hubby also likes to snack on them, so I always make a few extra. I already had plans to post this recipe when my niece, Jenny, text me and asked if she could have the recipe. She promised to keep it secret. I had to laugh and tell her that it would be a strange food blog if my recipes were a secret. These are the simplest things to make and you will never want to eat store bought croutons again.
Get a loaf of roasted garlic bread from the bakery at your grocery store. It will look like a big rustic loaf of bread that has not been sliced.
Slice into 3/4” slices (a little less than one piece per person).
Cut the slices into cubes.
Put in a bowl and toss with a light coating of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put on a cookie sheet and bake at 425° for about 6-8 minutes.
Check to see if the outside is starting to get crisp. Don’t let them get brown. Just slightly brown. You want them slightly crispy on the outside and still soft on the inside. If adding them to a salad, don’t add them until you are ready to eat or they will get soggy.
- 2 Slices Rustic Garlic Bread Cut 3/4” thick cubes
- 2 Tablespoons Olive OilOlive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Get a loaf of roasted garlic bread from the bakery at your grocery store. It will look like a big rustic loaf of bread that has not been sliced. Slice into 3/4” slices (a little less than one piece per person). Cut the slices into cubes. Put in a bowl and toss with a light coating of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put on a cookie sheet and bake at 425°F for about 6-8 minutes. Check to see if the outside is starting to get crisp. You want them slightly crispy on the outside and still soft on the inside. If adding them to a salad, don’t add them until you are ready to eat or they will get soggy.
Sausage jokes are the “wurst” I call this Concoction No. 2 because it’s a variation on Concoction No. 1 (which I will post another time). Neither of them have ever had a name that I know of, it’s just something I’ve been making for as […]
Paradise by the oven hood lights I love that song by Meatloaf (Paradise by the Dashboard Lights). Sometimes I can even get my husband to sing it along with me. Problem is, that he doesn’t know the words as well as I do, so I […]
What’s Your Beef?
Pepé and I are really bad at planning our meals ahead of time. We don’t always know what we’re cooking for dinner until we are ready to cook dinner. I thought we planned ahead recently, but we were mistaken. We found some filet mignon in the freezer, so we put it in the fridge to thaw for a couple of days. So it’s the day and time to cook dinner. We went to open the package of meat only to realize that it was not the beef we thought it was. It was boneless short ribs instead of filet mignon. UGH!
Our next mistake was to pull out a sirloin strip, but that was frozen solid and after 20 or 30 minutes I realized that was a bad plan. Pulled some shrimp out after that and again realized it was a bad plan as it was now approaching 9:30 p.m. Yes, my dinner plans were crushed, so we threw in the towel and finally just ate sandwiches.
No worries. We can cook them tomorrow when we have more time.
So, today is the day to cook these short ribs. We came home from a day at the winery (see previous post) and Pepé was a little jealous that Claude got to go out and have some fun, but Pepé got out for a whole weekend recently, so he can just get over it. Claude was a bit tipsy from the day at the winery, so he insisted on photo bombing. He and Pepé are a bit competitive.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Salt and pepper your short ribs then dredge them in flour (shaking off the excess).
Heat your pan on medium high. Add two tablespoons of bacon grease (yes bacon grease – you don’t have to use it, but one tablespoon isn’t going to hurt you and this isn’t exactly diet food anyway). Add one tablespoon of olive oil as well.
Now toss those babies in your hot pan and sear them on all sides for about a minute each side.
Once they’re nice and brown, remove them to a plate and add those veggies. Sprinkle with salt and cook until tender.
At this point, you will want to add 1-2 more tablespoons of oil and two tablespoons of flour. Stir for a minute or two. Now add the minced garlic. Never let garlic burn or it will taste bitter. Now add in your red wine and make sure to scrape those tasty bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir for a few minutes.
Add your beef or chicken stock, water and tomato paste and stir some more. Gently, add your beef back into the pan (you do not want to splash yourself). Add your herbs, cover and put into your oven. Let it cook for 2 1/2 hours. You’re house will smell amazing. Now you can use this time to work on your side dishes, take a nap, pet the cat… whatever you want.
Oh, I almost forgot… (Pepé was distracting me) I like to add about two heaping handfuls of sliced mushrooms in the pan about 45 minutes before I take it out of the oven.
You should now have super tender braised short ribs with a delicious mushroom, wine gravy.
Braised Short Ribs
- 1 1/2 Pounds beef short ribs (bone-in or boneless)
- 1 Cup yellow onion chopped
- 1 Cup carrot chopped
- 3 Large garlic cloves minced
- 1 Cup dry red wine
- 3 Cups beef or chicken stock
- 2 Cups water
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 Cups mushrooms sliced (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons bacon grease
- 2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 Sprigs rosemary
- 2-3 Sprigs thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- Salt and pepper your short ribs then dredge them in flour (shaking off the excess).
- Heat your pan on medium high. Add two tablespoons of bacon grease and one tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add your meat to the pan sear them on all sides for about a minute each side. Once browned, transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add carrots and onions to the pan and cook until tender.
- Add 1-2 more tablespoons of oil and two tablespoons of flour. Stir for a minute or two.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for one minute.
- Add the red wine and make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. Stir for a few minutes.
- Add the beef or chicken stock, water and tomato paste and stir some more.
- Gently, add your beef back into the pan and place the herbs on top.
- Cover with lid and place in 350°F oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook for another 45 minutes.