Sunday Brunch Day

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Fall TableThere is just something about Fall.  The crisp air, the colorful leaves, and the cooler temperatures seem to beckon you to come gather at the table.  The Fall table does not require formalities, she simply asks you to come as you are, and to come hungry.

When I was in law school and the Husband, then boyfriend, moved up here to Cincinnati, we started family dinners on Sunday nights.  It was a time to come together with family amidst all the craziness of the past week, relax together, and to reconnect.

With the Husband’s work schedule or studying often pulling him away on Sunday, we have gotten out of our little routine.  And I miss it.  This past Sunday though, schedules aligned and we brunched.

Now, I’m a breakfast person.  There is no mistaking that.  So I couldn’t wait to welcome everyone with a warm cup of coffee on a cool Sunday morning.  And let’s be honest, there’s no better way to watch football than with a warm and happy stomach.  So before the Steelers play, or if you side with the Ohio contingency of my family, the Bengals or Browns, it was time to come to the table.

pumpkinEveryone has their go-to for brunch.  Whether it’s a soufflé, your grandmother’s cinnamon rolls, or strata, there’s that one dish you pull out of your back pocket to please the morning crowd.  For years mine was a Rachel Ray casserole.  We made it the morning of my law school graduation so it only seemed fitting to make this past weekend to celebrate passing the Ohio Bar.  However, I decided to break out of the mold and break into my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

On the menu this past Sunday morning was the Farmer’s Casserole and Pumpkin Bread.  It only seems fitting.  They were delicious! So next time your family gathers, break out these little numbers and they will be sure to please.  This Pumpkin Bread would also be great as gifts.

Pumpkin Bread
From Better Homes and Gardens

Makes 2 loaves.  This can be made ahead of time, which is always key for brunch.  If making the night before, after the loaves are completely cool, wrap and store overnight.

Ingredients
– 3 cups sugar
– 1 cup vegetable oil
– 4 eggs
– 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 tsp. baking soda
– 1 ½ tsp. salt
– 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
– 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
–  2/3 cup water
–  1 15oz. can pumpkin

Directions
– Grease the bottom and sides of two loaf pans; set aside.
– In a very large mixing bowl beat sugar and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed.  Add eggs and beat well; set aside.
– In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
– Alternately add flour mixture and water to sugar mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
– Beat in pumpkin.
– Spoon batter into prepared pans.
– Bake at 350 for 55-65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the centers come out clean.
– Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.
– Remove from pans and then cool completely on the wire racks.

Farmer’s Casserole
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

This makes 6 big servings but I would suggest doubling the recipe because people will go back for seconds.  This can also be made ahead of time.  Cha-ching.  If making ahead, go through second step.  Cover, and chill up to 24 hours.  Then bake uncovered at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Ingredients
– 3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
– ¾ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, or a mixture
– 1 cup cooked, crumbled, turkey sausage (the recipe calls for diced cooked ham or bacon, but the turkey was great in it and a bit healthier)
– ¼ cup sliced green onions
– ¼ cup diced red pepper
– 4 beaten eggs
– 1 ½ cups milk
– 1/8 tsp. salt
– 1/8 tsp. black pepper

Directions
– Coat 2-quart square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
– Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of the dish.
– Sprinkle potatoes with cheese, turkey, green onions, and red peppers.
– In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt, and pepper.
– Pour egg mixture over potato mixture.
– Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
– Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

What is your brunch go-to?

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Cloudy with a chance of meat sauce

“There is no such thing as Italian ‘haute cuisine’ there are no high or low roads in Italian cooking.  All roads lead to the home, to ‘la cucina de casa’ – the only one that deserves to be called Italian cooking.” ~ Marcella Hazan

Grandma Rosemarie as a baby

Grandma Rosemarie as a baby

Some of my very fondest memories of my Grandma Rosemarie center around cooking.  While growing up and spending summers at the lake with Grandma and Grandad, the most important question of the day was always, “What’s for dinner?”  And it was usually asked at the breakfast table.

It was not that we particularly cared what we were eating, but it was that by figuring out what she was planning on making, we knew when to come up from the lake to help.  We did not want to miss a minute of it.

The house, and our family, revolved around the kitchen and the large gathering table my grandparents had built to accommodate their 5 boys and all of their grandchildren.  While Grandma cut tomatoes and basil for bruschetta, a gaggle of cousins brushed ciabatta bread with olive oil, Grandad would put on music, and one of the aunts would be arranging fresh flowers from Grandma’s garden to place on the table.

Despite all the hub-bub, Grandma was always patient.  Everyone had a job, and nothing was rushed.  While the pasta would cook, the smell of marinara sauce would float through the air and mingle with the laughs and conversations that filled the room.  This has always been the image I conjure up when I think of family.

Hazan-Essentials-of-ItalianI don’t remember seeing Grandma use many cookbooks.  However, Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is one that I distinctly remember on her shelf.  This comes as no surprise as a wonderful piece in the New York Times last Sunday after Hazan’s death summed it this way, “Mrs. Hazan embraced simplicity, precision and balance in her cooking.”  This is what I remember about Grandma’s cooking.

My brother gave me my own this past Christmas.  With law school, moving, the bar exam, and starting a job, it was still in a box with all my other cookbooks.  However, after reading the NYT piece and seeing the weather here in Cincinnati called for rain, what better way to warm up an otherwise dreary Sunday than in the kitchen.

In Hazan’s own words, “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is meant to be used as a kitchen handbook, the basic manual for cooks of every level.”  I have been dying to make a good bolognese sauce from scratch for years, so I decided to make Hazan’s ragu, a dish she was known for.  I couldn’t help by smile as I was making the ingredient list and saw it called for nutmeg, a hint of which you could always taste in Grandma’s sauce.

Rosemarie as a baby with her older sister

Rosemarie as a baby with her older sister

 

From the very first recipe, I could already tell this book was going to be a staple in my kitchen.  Hazan’s recommendations throughout the book and effortless prose make me feel like I was right back in my Grandma’s kitchen.  Nothing is rushed, everything has a purpose, and you are always welcome.  As I read through Hazan’s pointers before the bolognese recipe, I almost felt as if my Grandma was right there beside me making sure everything turned out just right.

  • Make sure the meat is not from too lean of a cut.
  • Be sure to add salt immediately when sauteing the meat because this will extract the juices.
  • Cook, uncovered, at the merest simmer for a long, long time; no less than 3 hours is necessary; more is better.

To me, this last one is key.  It says, calm down, have a glass of wine, converse with family and friends, and do it right.  This recipe is perfect for a lazy Sunday.  A perfect dish to make for a family dinner or like I did, for a night in on a rainy Sunday with the Husband.   It is comfortable, warm, and welcoming.  Just like I remember Grandma Rosemarie.

photo-17Bolognese Meat Sauce
Originally from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, and  some ingredients adapted/multiplied by Leite’s Culinaria (a fabulously mouthwatering blog that you must read if you do not already)

Ingredients
– 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
– 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, plus 2 Tbs. for tossing the pasta
– 1 cup chopped onion
– 1 1/3 cup chopped celery
– 1 1/3 cup chopped carrots
– 1 1/2 pound ground chuck beef*
– Salt
– Black Pepper
– 2 cups whole milk
– 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
– 2 cups dry white wine (I used sauvignon blanc)
– 3 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes, crushed, with their juices
– pasta (I used cheese tortellini)

Directions
Put oil, butter, and onion into the pot over medium heat.
– Cook and stir the onion until it becomes translucent, and then add the celery and carrot.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring to make sure the vegetables are coated.
– Add the meat, a large pinch of salt, and pepper.  Break up the meat with a wooden spoon and cook until the beef has lost its red color.
– Add the milk and simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely.  About 1 hour.
– Add nutmeg and stir.
– Add the wine and let it simmer until it is evaporated.  About 1.25 hours.
– Add the tomatoes and stir to makes sure all the ingredients are coated well.  When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down so that the sauce cooks  at the laziest of simmers, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through to the surface. (Honestly, Hazan’s words just make me hungry).
– Cook uncovered for 3 hours or more, stirring from time to time.
– If the sauce begins to dry out and the fat separates from the meat, add 1/2 cup of water whenever necessary to keep it from sticking.
– At the end, make sure that no water is left and the fat must separate from the sauce.
– Season to taste.
– Toss with cooked drained pasta, adding the remaining 2 Tbs. of butter.

 

*Hazan recommends a variation of the sauce that uses pork, an important part of Bologna’s culture and cuisine.  She recommends 1 part ground pork for every 2 parts beef.  David from Leite’s Culinaria did 1/2 pound each of ground chuck, ground pork, and ground veal.  This is key.

Don’t make the mistake I did.  I could not find ground pork at the grocery so I just went with ground beef (since I did not know the difference between ground beef and ground chuck).  Newbie mistake.  Next time I will either get chuck since it is fattier, more flavorful, and tastier.  Or, I’ll head down to the butcher.  Since you’re spending the time cooking it, make sure you get good meat.  It is the foundation.  And as the queen of Italian cooking says, “Flavor, in Italian dishes, builds up from the bottom…a foundation of flavor supports, lifts, points up the principal ingredients.”  Aka…get good meat.

Oktoberfest Y’all

“I’ve decided to retire and let myself go. I’ll have potatoes for lunch and potatoes for dinner and beer. God, I love beer! And treacle pudding and cherry tart and cream, cream, cream, cream, cream, cream … as god is my judge, I’ll never eat a lettuce leaf again.” ~ from the movie “Being Julia”

oktoberfest-zinzinnati-logoYou can smell it in the air.  You can feel it in your bones.  Those crisp fall mornings that whisper Fall is on her way…those are the mornings I love.  Just recently Summer has been wearing out her welcome here in Cincinnati, and those cool mornings are the ones that greet me as I head to the gym before work.  And I for one, could not be happier.

This past weekend, Cincinnati, or Zinzinnati, ushered in Fall as only Zinzinnati can…Oktoberfest.  Touted as the biggest and most authentic Oktoberfest this side of Munich, I could almost smell the potato pancakes, bratwurst, and strudel from my office on Friday.  I love that Cincinnati does this.  What better way to ring in my favorite season of the year.  Plus…there’s beer.  Fall beer.  Oktoberfest beer.  What could be better.

ImageSince our office is right on the square, during lunch, we went to go watch the Running of the Wieners.   This event kicks off Oktoberfest, and yes, it was as great as it sounds.  From what I was told, if you have a wiener dog, you pay $50 to get a hotdog uniform (either mustard or ketchup) and a shirt that declares, “I’m a Wiener”.  Then you get placed in a heat, bring your pup to the square, and watch those little legs run.  It was hilarious.  These little pups were like celebrities.  I felt like I was watching the opening credits of 101 Dalmatians.  Each owner looked exactly like his or her pup.  I just couldn’t get enough.

Since the Husband has three tests coming up this week, we weren’t able to take part in Zinzinnati Oktoberfest more than an after work Sam Adam’s Oktoberfest.  But that doesn’t mean we didn’t help welcome Fall.

So while some in Zinzinnati welcomed Fall wearing  lederhosen, stein in hand, we welcomed her with football, walks along the trail way, and a fall feast.  I love everything fall, the boots, the sweaters, the books, but I especially fall flavors.  Even though we couldn’t go have a brat on the square, I wanted to come up with something fun to make while we watched football Sunday night…ahem…while we watched the Steelers try to play football Sunday night.  But that’s besides the point.  Enter Jenna from Eat, Live, Run.  I started reading her blog in law school and whenever I had time to try a new recipe I tried one of Jenna’s.  In this household, we’re Jenna fans.  So of course that was the first blog I visited.  And low and behold, she dishes up another winner: Beer Brats with Caramelized Onions.

Perfect.

IMG_1351We made sweet potato fries to go with them and it was the perfect fall dinner.  We’ve been eating pretty clean here at the McGlothlin household recently so typically I would use olive oil to coat the sweet potatoes, and I normally would have used turkey sausage as a substitute for the brats.  But it’s Fall.  And let’s be honest, sometimes you just have to bring it in for the real thing.

Jenna suggested a holiday beer or pumpkin beer to soak the brats.  I used Southern Tier Pumking, which ended up being a bit too sweet once it cooked down.  You’ll want a full, flavorful seasonal with a little kick.  I think next time I might try Dogfish Punkin or Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale.  Or if you want to pick up the beer while you’re getting everything else on the list, Sam Adam’s Harvest Pumpkin Ale would be a good bet.  Whatever you choose, make sure you get enough so you can enjoy some while you cook.  Prost!

Beer Brats & Caramelized Onions
Originally from Eat, Live, Run

Ingredients
– 1 lb. bratwurst
– 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
– 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
– 1 bottle beer (12 oz)
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
– 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Directions
– Turn on the grill outside and let it heat up.
– Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.
– Once hot, add the onions and saute for about 10 minutes, until golden.
– Add the thinly sliced garlic and saute for another three minutes until toasty.
– Add the bratwursts to the pan, along with the beer. Stir and bring to a boil.
– Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the brats turn white.
– Remove the sausages and place on a plate.
– Turn the heat to high so the beer mixture boils again.
– Add the salt, brown sugar and Worcestershire.
– Stir well and continue boiling.
– While the “sauce” is boiling, grill the sausages for only about 5 minutes, you just want to finish them on the grill.
– When done, bring the sausages back inside and place them back in the beer sauce and spoon sauce over.
– Serve brats with sauce and onions on top. (We toasted some buns and ate them that way…if your grocery store has pretzel buns, definitely go for those).

I'm sorry, I just can't get this image out of my head.

I’m sorry, I just can’t get this image out of my head.

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients
– 1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
– Melted butter (just enough to lightly coat the potatoes…and don’t skimp here.  For some reason olive oil just doesn’t have the same effect taste-wise and baking-wise)
– A couple shakes of course sea salt

Directions
– Pre-heat the oven the 375
– Mix the potato slices, melted butter and salt together
– Spread the potato slices on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes
– After 10 minutes flip the potatoes and cook for 10 more minutes
– Serve with a dollop of wasabi mayo

Oh, and for those who want to see the Running of the Wieners, check out the video on Instagram.

Have a great week!

Old Haunts and New Favorites

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” ~ Lin Yutang

To be honest, I’m not really sure where my old, familiar pillow is at this point in time.  Recently, I feel like my bags are constantly packed and ready by the door.   However, I have realized the beauty in not only traveling and finding new places, but also seeing old places, with new eyes.

The Boy and I have been having a blast together exploring his hometown here in Cinci and seeking out new favorites when I’m in Nashville amidst visiting our go-to’s.  This past weekend in Nashville was no different.

After a morning run and taking Caesar to his yearly vet appointment (always an adventure) we decided to head to The Flying Saucer, one of our favorite spots, to try a new Dogfish Head they had in.

Then it was off to East Nashville.  I was really excited to head across the river to try some new spots and hopefully visit one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in Nashville.

One of the places on our list to try was Cooper’s on Porter, a place we heard about at the East Nashville Beer Festival this Spring.  We ended up getting there a little earlier than the 4pm open time which was fine by me because that meant there was time for a late lunch at Rosepepper.  Perfect planning in my book!

After a steamed vegetable quesadilla and one of the best margs in town, we ended up walking around my old stomping ground for a bit and then headed back to Porter to check out Cooper’s.

We heard about Cooper’s as it relates to beer but it turns out as we learned from the bartender, owner and chef Cooper Brunk, places much of the emphasis on food.  However, since we had already taken care of the food side of things, we just decided to check out the beer.  They have 25 rotating taps and plenty more in bottles and cans.  Although you won’t find anything crazy on tap at Cooper’s, what they do offer is a killer line up of solid craft brews including Schlafly, Brooklyn, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and of course, local favorites like Blackstone and Yazoo.  The best part, at least in this law student’s book, is that every Tuesday-Saturday from 4-7pm, all drafts are only $3.

After that we decided to check out another new kid on the block, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.  This just might be one of my new favorite places. This should not surprise you since I’m pretty sure ice cream was my first solid food as a child.

But this is like no other ice cream you’ve ever tasted before.  I mean, come on.  Check out this flavor list.  Cherry Lambic Sorbet, Queen City Cayenne, Brown Butter Almond Brittle and what I ended up going with: Salty Caramel.  Salty and Sweet.  Again, this should not surprise you seeing as I probably single handedly bought out all of Starbucks Salted Hot Chocolate drinks while they were available this past winter.  The Starbucks that I consumed during finals was just downright frightening.

Anyway, the Boy tried the Cherry Lambic Sorbet and although I tend to be very skeptical when it comes to sorbet…that too was delicious!  We decided to get two pints to-go and I’m sure they will not be our last this summer.

The great thing is that although they only have shops in Northern Ohio and now Nashville, you don’t have to go there to get Jeni’s truly splendid ice cream.  Luckily, you can find them in Whole Foods, Jungle Jims and other markets across the US.  You have to try this stuff.  I promise, you’ll thank me later.

Even though, like all other weekend trips, my time in Nashville seemed too short…it was a blast.  It was the first trip where I felt like I had shaken off law school for the summer and didn’t have to worry about deadlines, briefs, or homework to be done when I got back.  I enjoyed and loved every minute of it.  After a jam packed 1L year, the summer is a welcome break and the relaxation it brings is intoxicating.

To me, there’s just something about summer that whispers adventure.  It’s time to go see things you’ve been wanting to all winter long, it’s reading those books that your friends can’t stop talking about while lounging on the porch enjoying a warm summer night.  It’s catching up with old friends over delicious food and relaxing with family.  It’s indulging in your old favorites while finding the time to seek out new ones.

So here’s to ice cream, a cheap pint of beer, good company, lazy summer nights, and adventures, both new and old.

What will you be doing this summer?  What’s your adventure? Where are some places you want to go and are they old favorites or new?

Cup of Joe and a Clingy Case of the Mundays

Coffee is the best thing to douse the sunrise with.  ~Terri Guillemets

I brought you a cup made just the way you like it

Good morning from Cincinnati!  If we were really having coffee this crisp fall morning, I would pick you up a to-go cup because this morning we’re on the move.  As we’d walk down the city streets of Cincinnati we’d watch it wake up, my favorite time of the day.

If we were really having coffee today, I’d want to hear all about your weekend!  You’d probably ask about my fall break and although I can’t wait to tell you all about a perfect week in Nashville, I would have to save that for another time.  A time when I haven’t been up since 5 am and when I wasn’t rushing to a busy day of classes and conference calls.

And to be completely honest, somehow the case of the Mundays has seemed to follow me to Tuesday.  Weekends are still hard in a new city and coming back pre-dawn Monday morning from a great weekend back home was tough.  Even though I know it’s only for a season and that in the big picture, 3 years isn’t that long…it’s tough being away from home.  Lately, I feel like I’ve been living in two worlds and this Tuesday I am missing the one I’m used to, the one I love with places and people I know and who know me.  This Tuesday,  as we’re rushing around for coffee in my new city, I would have to stop and ask you for your honest opinion, “This will get easier right?” It will get easier to come back right?

And then I’d probably laugh because you’d probably be looking at me like I’m crazy and say that doesn’t sound like me.  And you’d be right.  I love new places and love change but at the same time, I have realized that it’s the people that mean the most to me.  I guess I’ll just have to find a way to open the arms my world wider to include both.  These are just growing pains.

But before we parted ways to get caught up in the hustle of the day, I’d pass on this delicious recipe that I recently tried.  Everyone needs a simple apple pie recipe for the fall right?  Plus, it would go great with coffee!  Enjoy!

Flat Apple Pie
Originally from The Pioneer Woman
Ingredients
-5 peeled & sliced Granny Smith apples
-2 Tbs. flour
-Juice of 1/2 lemon
-1/2 c. sugar
-1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1 recipe Perfect Pie Crust
-6 Tbs. butter

Directions
-Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
-In a large bowl, stir together the apples, flour, lemon juice, granulated sugar, brown sugar and salt and set aside.
-Roll out two pie crusts into large circles and place the circles on large baking sheets.
-Place half the apple mixture on one crust and other half on the other crust.
-Fold over the edge of each crust so that it covers 2-3 inches of the apple mixture. No need to be artistic – the more rustic the better.
-Dot the tops of the pies with chunks of butter.
-Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the filling is golden and bubbly. If the crust appears to brown too quickly, cover the edges with aluminum foil for the remaining baking time.
-All to cool slightly, then slice into wedges with a pizza cutter.(makes 2 pies) 

Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pie Crust
Pie crust is normally so difficult to make and so finicky.  So you can see how I was a little apprehensive to tackle this one.  BUT, this was so simple!  I am going to use this crust all the time now.
Ingredients
-3 c. flour
-1 tsp salt
-1 ½ c. vegetable shortening
-1 egg
-5 Tbs. cold water (I put some ice water in a freezer until I used it)
-1 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
Directions
-Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.
-Add in shortening.
-Using a pastry cutter, gradually work the shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles. About 3-4 minutes.
-Lightly beat the egg with a fork, then add it to the mixture.
-Next, add the cold water and vinegar.
-Stir the mixture together until it’s just combined, then remove half the dough from the bowl.
-Place in a large plastic bag (do not seal) and slightly flatten with a rolling pin. After flattening, seal the bag tightly. Freeze. (Repeat to freeze second half.)
When ready to use a crust, remove one from the freezer and allow it to sit on the counter to thaw slightly, about 20 minutes.
-Remove from the bag and place on a lightly floured surface.
-With a rolling pin, begin rolling the dough from the center, outward.
-If  the bottom is really sticking to the surface below, use a nice, sharp spatula to loosen it and sprinkle some extra flour on top.
-Flip over to finish rolling. Remember to roll from the center in single, outward strokes; not back-and-forth rolling.
-Loosen and lift the pie crust and carefully lay it over a pie pan. Using your hand, lightly form the crust so that it fits inside the pan and overlaps the edges.
(makes two to three 9-inch pie crusts)

Ree…You’ve Done it Again

By now you know of my utter and complete love of all things Pioneer Woman.  Here’s the thing that won me over…cookbooks and cooking magazines are hit or miss for me.  Sometimes you’ll find a great recipe and other times it’s a little bland.  Ree (Pioneer Woman) though, hits the spot every time!

So when The Boy was coming up to Cincinnati last week before fall break I wanted to figure out something delicious to make for when he got in.  In law school because of time and the budget or a grad student, cooking has gone to the wayside.  I’m more of a mac and cheese or turkey sandwich kind of girl most nights now.  I save it for special occasions and look so forward to relaxing and creating again.  So, this special occasion begged the question…What shall we have for dinner?  The Boy had said he wasn’t really in the mood for pasta (which let’s face it, that takes out half of my repertoire) so we had to be creative here…

 

"Don't ask me. I'll eat anything"

 

Caesar didn’t have any answers for me so I went to the next best thing.

Ree, what shall we have for dinner on this beautiful fall night? Oh, and it can’t be pasta.

Chicken and olives you say. Sounds interesting.  I’ll give it a try.

Yes, that conversation did go on in my head and before you start to make judgement calls about my sanity…remember friends, I do live alone.  When you should start worrying though is if I ever tell you I got a cat.  Then we’ll have an issue on our hands.

Ok, back to the chicken with olives.  I was a little skeptical because I wasn’t sure how all the flavors would work together but like I said earlier, Ree has never led me astray so I decided to try it.

It was a huge success! I was worried the olives might overpower the dish but it didn’t.  I loved it.  The flavor was different from anything I’d ever had and the sautéed chicken which then baked in the sauce cooked it to perfection.  The Boy loved it too and didn’t seem to mind that I put it over pasta.

This dish is simple and a warm hearty dish for cool fall nights.

 

Photo by Ree Drummond

 

 

 

Chicken with Olives
Originally from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients
-4 Tbs Butter
-4 Tbs Olive Oil
-6 pieces Chicken (Ree suggested to use thighs and legs which would good but I might try chicken breast next time) With Skin
-1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
-5 cloves Garlic, Minced
-2 whole Green Bell Peppers, Seeded And Chopped Into Large Pieces
-1 whole 28 Ounce Can Whole Tomatoes, Completely Drained And Juice Squeezed Out, Chopped
-1 cup White Wine (Again, grad student budget  so I used Low Sodium Chicken Broth)
-Salt
-Freshly Ground Black Pepper
-¼ cups Heavy Cream
-1 cup Whole Green Olives
-12 oz, weight Linguine, Cooked Al Dente And Drained

Another beautiful photo by Ree Drummond

Directions
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-In a large ovenproof skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium-high heat.
-Add chicken and brown on both sides. Remove chicken to a clean plate.
-Reduce heat to medium.
-Add onions, garlic, and green bell pepper to the pan. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.
-Add tomatoes and cook for a minute or two.
-Season with salt and pepper.
-Pour in wine/broth and stir.
-Add chicken pieces back to pan, cover with lid, and place into the oven for 45 minutes.
-Remove pan from oven and remove lid.
-Add whole green olives and heavy cream (drizzle evenly over the top.)
-Put on lid and shake the pan to “stir” in the cream.
-Return to the oven for 15 to 20 minutes to thicken the sauce.
-Remove from oven and keep lid on until ready to serve.

 

Place pasta into a large serving bowl or platter and lay chicken pieces on top.  Pour all of the sauce over the top and sprinkle with Parmesan.

– – –

Cooks out there…what’s your favorite oven proof skillet or dutch oven? I would love to get one and would love some suggestions.

Happy Fall!

My Last Will and Testament and a Bake Sale

“Change is the essence of life.  Be willing to surrender what you are for what you can become.”

All that is left

So, yesterday was my last day at work.  That was interesting. I was excited and nervous.  I’ve never quit anything in my life and to leave a job, even if it is to go back to school, killed me.  I’ve been with these people for 4 years! How do you just cut youreslf off in one day? Not to mention, I just don’t think I process things correctly.  It didn’t feel like my last day till I got in the car, was driving away and it all of the sudden hit me.  Also, I’m terrible at goodbyes.  So all in all, an akward day for me.  

While I was cleaning up my desk, I did find these little gems.  I could’ve been selfish and taken them with me…set them up in my first class of law school, but no.  Instead, I want to leave them with those that I think will enjoy them.  Think of this as my last will and testament.  So gather round for the reading of the will.  Sorry, no one gets the car. I know that’s all what you’re here for.  It is a champ at hauling books of boxes. Hmmm…who’s first.

1. Jesus with the 5 o’clock shadow- This is bestowed upon Jason. He comes with all the rubberbands you shot at me over cubeland in Novi.  Just remember that it’s all fun and games till someone looses an eye.
2. Sharpies- A publicist always has sharpies.  ALWAYS.  I was strolling through a bookstore while there was a signing in the back.  Across the aisle I saw a woman in heels franticly running up front.  She was looking for sharpies for her author.  I dug in the purse and ta-da! Here you go bad publicist, here’s a sharpie for your author.  I normally carry three.  I’m not willing to be naked and without a sharpie nor do I think ripping off the bandaid all at once is the best way to heal so how about this.  I’ll keep one and give the rest to my fabulous publicist friends.  To Curt, Katie, Stephanie, Heather, Claudia, Brenda…may you never go without.
3. Popcorn- This goes to AJ. I also owe her gum and some advil since she always had it and I never did. 
4. Talking Jesus- Yes, it is a talking Jesus.  The best thing for a quiet office, is talking Jesus.  I feel I might have to leave this to my successor since this was left for me.  New children’s publicist meet Talking Jesus. Usuaslly I do the daily word at 8.
5. Dixie Stampede Cup- This thing cracks me up.  One of the editors brought it back for me because she thought it was funny.  It is.  But now I feel it belongs back home.  That is why my dear friend Abby. Abby, wherever you may go in life, this should go with you so you can remember home back in East Tennessee 🙂 
6. Webster- This goes to Jen…well, it actaully goes to Jake, her adorable little boy. I’d see Jen coming in the office and right after her would be little Jake.  He loved Webster so it’s only right it’s his now.  Plus, I’m a children’s publicist, something has to go to the kids right?!
7. Flair- There are two pieces of flair here.  One is a magnet from the Office that says “I Love My Job” and the other is a pin from one of the first books I worked on as an intern, Aim Low. Kristen, these are for you.  Your fantastic sense of humor will fit these perfectly.  I wish I could get you corndogs. I’ll send those.  Please where the pin to our next sonic happy hour.  Thanks for making me laugh and keeping me sane.
8. And what you’ve all been waiting for…the Publicist on a Stick. This is one of the best things I’ve ever recieved.  So funny.  Jason, this is for you.  Just remember, to whom much is given, much is expected.

This concludes the reading of the will.  But don’t leave yet!  One more thing to tell you about before I haul boxes and furniture around today in the blistering heat and humidity…

This Saturday, the fabulous Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil, one of my favorite food blogs, has organized local food bloggers including myself for a bake sale benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank. 

Check the event details out on facebook. Isn’t this such a wonderful idea?  The ladies behind these blogs are fantastic and the recipes on their sites are mouthwatering so I can’t wait to see what they whip up.  Sadly though, I’ll be out of town this weekend and unable to make it to the sale but I will be sending my favorite Lemon Ricotta cookies.  Mmm.   Be sure to check it out, get some goodies, say hello to the local food bloggers and tell all of your friends!  All of the proceeds go to help flood relief efforts here in Middle Tennessee.  I just love how food brings people together and helps out.  That’s my kind of relief effort!

Happy Thursday everyone!