posts may contain Amazon affiliate links, which earn me a small commission when you buy (but doesn't cost you anything extra). Occasionally I receive free products and/or run sponsored posts—this will always be stated clearly in the post. Thank you for supporting this blog.

This website contains some quotations, excerpts, and screen clips from copyrighted material. These uses fall well within the copyright doctrine of "Fair Use".
Friday, November 30, 2012

Bacon Hash inspired by Nora Ephron's Heartburn

Bacon Hash inspired by Nora Ephron's Heartburn

I loved to cook, so I cooked. And then cooking became a way of saying I love you. And then cooking became the easy way of saying I love you. And then cooking became the only way of saying I love you. I was so busy perfecting the peach pie that I wasn't paying attention. p.135

I get Nora Ephron.  The way she uses food as an expression of love.  The way she can get lost in it without even realizing that that is what she's doing.  Until she does.  Until it hits her in the gut and causes her to send clumsily chopped onions all over her television audience.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beurre Blanc ...inspired by Julie & Julia {food 'n flix}

So I'm pretty sure that there's not many people... "food people"... out there who haven't seen Julie & Julia.  I watched it pretty much immediately when it came out.  I bought it when it was released on DVD.  And every once in a while, I sit down to watch it.  Or at least parts of it.  My favorite parts happen to be the Julia parts.

Crazy how a tiny little woman like Meryl Streep can nail a tall, boisterous woman like Julia Child so perfectly.  The little glimpse into Julia's life is endearing in every way.  I love how much she loves life.  Paris.  Butter.  Cooking.  Brie.  Eating.  She loves it all!  It's infectious.  If I didn't already feel the same way, I'd be a food-lovin' convert.
The Julie part.  Meh.  I mean, I like Amy Adams...but I just don't see her as Julie Powell.  She so sweet and mousy.  Julie is known for being foul-mouthed and... well... less nice?  Less meek?  Something.  I mean, Julie is who she is.  But Adams is not who she is.  Feel me?  Anyhoo.

I have to identify with the food blogger aspect.  The urgency to not leave people...readers (if there is actually anybody out there) hanging.  The need to complete what she started with her Julia project.  The glory that is a perfectly golden roast chicken.  And maybe my favorite Julie-scene, bringing the best-ever chocolate cake to the table and diving in with an appreciative husband.  With reckless abandon.
So.  Picking a recipe inspired by this flick was pretty simple.  I mean...hard...but simple.  Let me set the scene.  Julia's sister Dorothy had just come to visit Julia and Paul in Paris.  After picking her up from the station, they go to a restaurant.  They're eating Brie (while ooohing and aaahhing about how it's the BEST cheese ever) and drinking red wine.  Julia and Dort are chatting excitedly like sisters who were close and hadn't seen each other in a while...

Julia (excitedly): I got the chef at Chez la Mère Michel to give me the recipe for beurre blanc.

Dorothy (in a cute, whimsical Dort sort of way): Beurre blanc. What's beurre blanc?

Julia: Butter in a white wine vinegar reduction.

Dorothy (chewing and nodding): Mmmm...

Julia: You whisk them together... and the acid in the vinegar works on the milk solids in the butter so that the butter, instead of melting, becomes this creamy, light, frothy... with, with a kind of, a fantastic... subtle kind of...

Paul (suave): Tangy.  It has a tanginess.

Julia (knowing wonder): Tanginess...

Paul: Yes.

Julia (in splendor): Well, that's... that's who I married.  Anyway, you serve it on fish and it is splendid.  I'm going to make it for you.

And well, if you know me at all, you know my affection for French sauces.  Especially French butter sauces. Ummm... Hollandaise.  Béarnaise.  And much like those sauces, I don't make Beurre Blanc often.  I actually think I've only made it two or three times in the last 5 years.  It's another one of those that I made alot while working in restaurants.  But not much at home.  I'm gonna go ahead and say that's a good thing.  It's so much better to bathe in the creamy, rich, tangy glory sporadically.

Keeps it special, ya know?

Beurre Blanc

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5-10 minutes
Keywords: sauce butter wine vinegar French

Ingredients (~1 cup)
    • 2½ Tbs. white wine vinegar
    • 2½ Tbs. dry white wine (or vermouth or lemon juice)
    • 1 Tbs. minced shallots
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • ⅛ tsp. pepper (black or white)
    • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) butter
    to finish
    • 8 oz. (16 Tbs.) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 16 pieces
    • salt
    • pepper
    • lemon juice
    Place all of the ingredients for the reduction into a 6-cup medium-weight saucepan and bring to a boil until reduced to a syrupy consistency (~1½ tablespoons should remain). This won't take long once it starts boiling.

    Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately beat in 2 pieces of the chilled butter. As it softens and creams in the liquid, beat in another piece. Set the saucepan over very low heat and, beating constantly, continue to add the butter, one piece at a time, once the previous piece is almost entirely absorbed.
    The sauce should be thick and ivory-colored, about the consistency of a light hollandaise.

    Immediately remove from heat as soon as all the butter has been added. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice.

    I love Beurre Blanc best served over fish (like the White Bass seared in Brown Butter with Haricot Verts pictured), but it's also wonderful over veggies, veal, or chicken.

    ever-so-slightly adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
    Powered by Recipage
    Food‘nFlix Food 'n Flix is being hosted by Leslie from La Cocina de Leslie this month with her pick, Julie & Julia. Today is the deadline...I'm sliding in just under the wire this month.

     Next month we'll be watching (the original) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (hosted at WellDined). Plus, we're getting an early start on January's flick, The Hunger Games which I will be hosting in conjunction with Cook the Books (that's why it's an exciting 2-month special edition!). So, if you're a fan...or want to be...pick up the book and start reading and then watch the film and do a post inspired by both. I hope you join us!

    p.s...there are still a few food 'n flix hosting slots open in the second half of 2013.  If you're interested, shoot me an email with your movie choice and the month you prefer (click HERE to see open spots and previously viewed flicks), and I will add you to the schedule.

    related posts...

    50 Women Game-Changers in Food #1: Julia Child- Hollandaise

    Sauce Bearnaise + my FAVORITE meal

    50 Women Game-Changers in Food #50: Julie Powell - "Home at Last" Chicken

    Salmon en Papillote #CookforJulia

    Julia Childs French Bread: Batards

    Cake Batter Martini . . . inspired by Because I Said So {food n flix}

    Noodle Soup . . . inspired by The Ramen Girl {food n flix}
    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    Buttery Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

    Sometimes I see something and immediately know that it will be in my kitchen in a matter of days.  Maybe even hours.  That was exactly the case when I saw these rolls over at Karen's place.  I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my family would love them.  I knew they should make their way onto my Thanksgiving menu.  So they did.

    They were touted everything from "awesome", to "the best", to "mmmmm".  And then I was told I should have made two batches.  Also, they must be on the menu every year from here on out.

    See.  I know what they like.
    The thing is, these rolls are the perfect accompaniment to any meal.  Gorgeously burnished with butter.  Soft and fluffy.  Plus, if you cut them in half and layer some leftovers inside - they make a great sandwich roll!

    Buttery Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

    by Heather Schmitt-González
    Prep Time: 1½ - 2½ hours (largely unatt
    Cook Time: 24 minutes
    Keywords: bake bread Christmas Easter Thanksgiving American

    Ingredients (16 rolls)
      • ⅔ c. lukewarm water (100°-110° F)
      • ½ c. lukewarm milk
      • 2 oz. (56 g / 4 Tbs. / ½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
      • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
      • 1½ tsp. fine sea salt
      • ¾ oz. (21 g) instant potato flakes
      • ¾ oz. (21 g) nonfat dry milk
      • 14¾ oz. (417 g) bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
      • 7 g (~2¼ tsp.) instant yeast
      to finish:
      • ~2 oz. (56 g / 4 Tbs. / ½ stick) salted butter, melted
      in bread machine:
      Place all ingredients into bread machine in order listed (or in order specified in your manufacturers instructions) and press dough cycle.

      in stand mixer:
      Place all of the dough ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer that is fitted with the dough hook attachment. Turn on low until all of the ingredients are just combined. Turn up the speed to medium and knead until you have a soft dough, ~7 minutes.

      by hand:
      Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon or dough whisk until ingredients are all combined and too hard to work with the spoon. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is soft and pliable, ~10 minutes or so.

      next step - mixer or hand kneading:
      Form dough into a ball and place into a well-oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and set aside until doubled, ~60-90 minutes.

      finishing - all methods:
      Turn dough out of machine or bowl onto a lightly floured work surface; press gently to deflate.
      Divide dough into 16 even pieces (~1.8 oz. / ~52 g each) and form them into balls.

      Grease two 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans and then place 8 rolls in each pan, spacing them evenly apart. Cover the pans with plastic wrap or clean kitchen towels and allow to rise at room temperature until the dough is puffy and the individual pieces are touching each other, ~60-90 minutes.
      Preheat oven to 350° F during last 15-20 minutes of rise time.

      Slide both pans into the preheated oven and bake until the rolls are golden and have an internal temperature of 190° F, ~24 minutes.
      Remove pans from oven and generously brush the rolls with melted butter (you might have a little left after brushing). Let sit for 2-3 minutes, and then carefully remove them from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.
      Eat warm or at room temperature. Store, tightly wrapped at room temperature for 2-3 days. Place on a baking tray and reheat for a few minutes if making in advance.

      You can freeze the partially risen dough in advance, if you like. Allow dough balls to rise about ½-¾ of the way and then slide the pans into the freezer. Once frozen solid, turn the dough out of the pan and slide it into a freezer-safe zippered baggie. The night before you want to bake them, place the frozen dough back into a greased pan, cover the pan with greased plastic wrap, and allow to sit in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the pan from the refrigerator about an hour or so before you're ready to bake them. Preheat oven and bake as normal.

      adapted from Karen's Kitchen Stories
      Powered by Recipage
      I am sharing this post with:
      BYOB 125 x 125 Tasty Tuesdays 33 shades of green hearthnsoul150
      Monday, November 26, 2012

      Maple-Glazed Acorn Squash w/ Dried Cranberries {12 Weeks of Winter Squash}

      This year, squash took its rightful place at my Thanksgiving table.  I mean really, winter squash just sort of belongs at an autumnal feast, does it not?  Sure, it's always been around in the form of pie.  Or maybe as one component of a salad.  But for reasons unknown, this is the first year that it has earned a serving plate of its own on our table.

      Maybe it's because the sweet potatoes always earned all of the orange-glory.  But really, winter squash comes in more warm shades.  Like yellow.  Okay.  That's just one more shade.  Still.
      This simple, vibrant dish of roasted acorn squash nestled itself very nicely into the fold of things this year.  And earned winter squash its due on all future Thanksgiving menus.

      Maple Glazed Acorn Squash w/ Dried Cranberries

      by Heather Schmitt-González
      Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
      Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
      Keywords: roast side vegetarian soy-free nut-free squash cranberries Thanksgiving Christmas American fall winter

      Ingredients (serves 4)
      • oil or melted butter
      • 2 small to medium acorn squash
      • coarse salt
      • freshly ground black pepper
      • 1½ Tbs. melted butter
      • 2 Tbs. maple syrup
      • 1 Tbs. fresh thyme + a few sprigs for garnish
      • grated zest of 1 orange
      • 2 Tbs. dried cranberries, chopped
      Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

      Cut the ends off of the squash and then slice, crosswise, into ½-inch rounds. Use a biscuit cutter or small, sharp knife to cut the seeds from the center of each slice. Drizzle the slices with a bit of oil or melted butter and season with salt and pepper.

      Set on prepared baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.

      In the meantime, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the maple syrup, thyme, and orange zest; swirl to combine and remove from heat.

      Remove squash from oven and brush slices evenly with the maple syrup mixture and then scatter the cranberries evenly over the squash slices. Slide back into oven and roast until tender, glazed, and starting to turn golden in parts, 10-15 minutes longer.

      Transfer squash rings to serving plate and garnish with extra thyme sprigs.

      adapted from Thanksgiving: Recipes for a Holiday Meal
      Powered by Recipage
      If you have a few minutes, head on over and visit my 12 Weeks of Winter Squash co-host, Joanne of Eats Well With Others and see what she cooked up in her kitchen with winter squash this week.  And then share with us what you have been doing with winter squash below!

      1. Maple Glazed Acorn Squash w/ Dried Cranberries

      2. Roasted Balsamic Curry Vegetables &FreshCranberrie

      3. Roasted Cinnamon Ginger Delicata Squash

      4. Old fashioned pumpkin pie

      5. Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding with Bourbon Icing
      Sunday, November 25, 2012

      Italian Sausage & White Bean Bake

      Italian Sausage & White Bean Bake
      When you're not right on top of the damage waged by natural disasters, it's easy to let it slip to the back of your mind.  Go on with life as usual.

      I consider myself blessed to have celebrated Thanksgiving in my home with my family while enjoying good food cooked in my kitchen and watching football on television.  For that, and all of the other gifts in my life, I am thankful.

      Not everybody was as fortunate this year.  Many victims of Superstorm Sandy are without their homes...their kitchens...their televisions.  They are thankful for their lives and the lives of their loved ones.  They are strong.  They are rebuilding.  But they could use our help.
      Italian Sausage & White Bean Bake
      So somewhere in the middle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, reach into your hearts and reach out with your hands.  Be it in the form of donations - (monetary or otherwise), volunteering your time and/or your labor, or baking a comforting meal for someone in need - reach out and lend a helping hand.

      And while it may seem small in the scope of things, nothing compares to something homemade shows up at your door when you are feeling low.  A gesture.  A dish that warms not only your body, but also your heart and your soul.  This comforting casserole is full of warmth from the creamy white beans to the sweet Italian sausage to the scent of the herbs mingling with both in the steam that makes its way through the crispy bread crumb topping.  Deliver it to the door of somebody who needs it...maybe take along a green salad, a bottle of white wine, and a pan of brownies for a complete meal.

      Italian Sausage and White Bean Bake
      Italian Sausage & White Bean Bake
      by Heather Schmitt-González
      Prep Time: 15 minutes
      Cook Time: ~50 minutes
      Keywords: bake entree beans bread sausage fall winter

      Ingredients (serves 8)
      • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
      • 1½ lb. sweet Italian sausage
      • 3 leeks (white & light green parts), halved lengthwise & sliced into half moons
      • 2 carrots, sliced about same size as leeks
      • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
      • ½ c. white wine
      • 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
      • 2 (15 oz.) cans cannellini or great northern beans, drained & rinsed
      • small handful fresh parsley, chopped
      • leaves stripped from a few sprigs fresh thyme
      • ~10 fresh sage leaves, chopped
      • ¼ tsp. salt
      • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
      • 2 c. bread crumbs (fresh or dry, fine or coarse, or a mix)
      Preheat oven to 375° F.

      Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large deep-sided pan over medium-high heat. Push the Italian sausage out of its casings in little bits the size of tiny meatballs (or, if you sausage is bulk, add it to the pan as is and break up with a wooden spoon). Cook, stirring often, until sausage is browned, 8-10 minutes.

      Add leeks and carrots to the pan and continue to sauté for another 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes longer. Add the wine and let it cook for 1 more minute. Dump in the tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil. Tip in the beans, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Transfer mixture to a baking dish that has been coated lightly with cooking spray.
      Italian Sausage & White Bean Bake
      Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and then sprinkle it evenly over the whole thing. Slide into preheated oven and bake until the bread crumbs are golden and crispy and the mixture is bubbling around the edges, ~30 minutes.

      Serve warm or hot. Wrap leftovers well and refrigerate; equally delicious (if not more so) the next day.

      adapted from The Good Neighbor Cookbook
      Italian Sausage & White Bean Bake
      Saturday, November 24, 2012

      Bacon Cornbread Stuffing

      Bacon Cornbread Stuffing #Thanksgiving #bacon
      Over the past few years, I've tried quite a few different stuffing recipes.  Another thing about the past few years that I've noticed?  A lot of stuffing has gone uneaten.  By anyone other than me.   So, as much as I love trying out different flavor combos and add-ins, do you know what I love even more?  When every single person at the table gobbles (pun intended) up their helping of stuffing.  Maybe they even coo over it a little.  That is exactly what happened when this cornbread stuffing made its appearance on our Thanksgiving table this year.

      I decided that instead of combing through my many years of magazine pages with frayed edges and recipes jotted down on notebook paper and bookmarks on my computer, I'd just ask for suggestions.  The number one request was for cornbread stuffing.  Without any "funny stuff" in it.  Or stuff that tastes weird.  I can do that.

      I was torn between sausage and bacon, but in the end, bacon won.  Doesn't it always?  This is one that I'm guessing will be requested every year.  It's simple.  But the smoky, salty bacon...the sweet, caramelized onions...and the fresh green herbs accent the almost nutty flavor of the cornbread so perfectly that I wouldn't have it any other way.
      Friday, November 23, 2012

      Cranberry-Barbecue Turkey stuffed Sweet Potatoes {Thanksgiving Leftovers}

      I always have tons of plans to make this dish or that dish with our Thanksgiving leftovers.  In my mind there are a few days worth of meals.  In reality, people get grouchy if I "take away" too much of their sandwich turkey.  And I get it.  I think that my favorite thing to do with leftover turkey is to pile it on white bread and sprinkle it with salt.  No more.  No less.  Turkey, salt, bread - thank you very much.

      That said, I have a whole 'nother turkey or two's worth of things that I dream of one day doing with that leftover turkey.  The other leftovers go fairly fast as simple re-heats, as well...but it's always the turkey that disappears first.  So I set aside enough to make two "leftover" dishes with this year.  The first of which was this one.

      This past Sunday, the #SundaySupper gang brought you a long list of turkey day leftover options.  I bookmarked and pinned a bunch.  But when I laid eyes on one by Brianne of Cupcakes & Kale Chips, it immediately ingrained itself on the top of the list in my head.  A dish that just HAD to be made.  And I'm here to tell you - so happy that I did!
      I stuck to her basic method...just tweaked a teensy bit.  I left out the cheese. What!?  I know.  Weird for a cheeseslut to do such a thing, but I did.  I used this cranberry sauce.  I haven't yet blogged about the turkey or the stuffing I used...but let me tell you that cornbread stuffing WITH bacon (like I made this year) is THE PERFECT thing to top this stuffed potato off.  Those little smoky bits of bacon are the perfect compliment.

      So, if you've got some leftovers that you want to use up - you should totally give this a go.  And heck, I think pulled pork in place of turkey would be a fabulous option, as well.  Thanks so much for this inspiration, Brianne!

      Cranberry-Barbecue Turkey stuffed Sweet Potatoes

      by Heather Schmitt-González
      Prep Time: 10 minutes
      Cook Time: 45-60 minutes
      Keywords: roast entree sweet potatoes turkey cranberries Thanksgiving American fall

      Ingredients (serves 2)
      • 2 sweet potatoes
      • melted butter or olive oil
      • sea salt or kosher salt
      • freshly ground black pepper
      • ¼ c. leftover cranberry sauce
      • ¼ c. barbecue sauce
      • 1 c. leftover cooked turkey, shredded or chopped
      • ¼ c. leftover cornbread stuffing
      Preheat oven to 450°F.

      Poke sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Lightly rub sweet potatoes with melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet and slide into preheated oven; bake for ~45 minutes, or until cooked through.

      In the meantime, combine the cranberry sauce and barbecue sauce in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for a minute or two, just to combine the flavors and textures of the two sauces. Stir the turkey into the sauce and let bubble for a couple more minutes to heat the turkey through.

      Slice the potatoes lengthwise, leaving ~½" on the bottom uncut. Set them back on the baking sheet or in a baking dish and spread them open; rake your fork through the insides and mash it up a bit . Divide the turkey mixture evenly among the potatoes and then top with the stuffing. Slide back into oven for 5 minutes or so, just to heat the stuffing through and get a little color on it.


      adapted from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
      Powered by Recipage
      I am sharing this post with:
      foodiebutton2 Foodiefridaymark-1 FoodtasticFriday2 weekend cooking gallery of favorites
      Wednesday, November 21, 2012

      Baked Brie w/ Pistachios & Dried Fruit

      It's been a long time since I've let the cheeseslut write a post.  After two days of eyeing the posts "in draft" out of the corner of my eye while prepping for the big meal (that would be Thanksgiving), I finally gave in.

      The thing is, the cheeseslut gets right down to it.  No messing around with frilly words or lengthy prose.  Oh, no.  It's all about the cheese.  Tunnel vision can be a good thing.

      Case in point:  My brain won't stop churning around the finer points of the menu (that would be "the big meal" menu).  This is done.  That is done.  Those issues I only go over once every few hours.  But the few more things I have to finish prepping tonight?  They're bouncing around and taking up pretty much all the space up there.  Non-stop.  Sucking my brain power.
      Really, all the cheeseslut really wants to tell you is that serving this warm, gooey, booze-infused round of brie heaped with fruit in lusty jewel-tones and crunchy pistachios would be a very considerate thing to do for company.  Your fellow cheesesluts will thank you.

      Baked Brie w/ Pistachios & Dried Fruit

      by Heather Schmitt-González
      Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
      Cook Time: 10 minutes
      Keywords: bake appetizer cheese soy-free vegetarian cheese dried fruit nuts Christmas Thanksgiving

      Ingredients (serves 4-6)
      • 1 (16 oz.) or 1 (8 oz.) rounds of Brie
      • 2 Tbs. Cointreau
      • 2 oz. dried apricots, cut into ¼" strips
      • 2 scant Tbs. dried cranberries
      • 2 scant Tbs. yellow raisins
      • 3 Tbs. shelled pistachios
      to serve:
      • baguette slices
      • crackers
      • salad greens
      Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

      Place the cheese round(s) on the baking sheet and prick the top with the fork about a dozen times. Drizzle 1½ teaspoons of the Cointreau over the cheese.

      Toss the dried fruit and pistachios with the remaining Cointreau. Scatter evenly over the cheese.

      Slide into preheated oven and bake for ~8-10 minutes or until cheese is warm and soft. Use a wide spatula to lift the cheese from the tray to a plate lined with lettuce greens. Serve with slices of baguette and/or crackers. Enjoy!

      slightly adapted from Thanksgiving Entertaining
      Powered by Recipage
      our Thanksgiving Menu 2012

      Baked Brie w/ Pistachios & Dried Fruit (w/ baguette slices & crackers)
      mixed veggie tray

      Crisp-Skinned Herbed Turkey
      Herbed Citrus Gravy
      Cornbread Stuffing w/ Bacon
      Maple-Glazed Acorn Squash
      Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
      Baked Sweet Potatoes w/ Saffron Aïoli
      Haricot Verts w/ Toasted Walnuts
      Mixed Greens Salad

      Pocketbook Rolls
      Pull-Apart Buttery Dinner Rolls

      Cranberry-Smothered Cheesecake
      Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars

      assorted beverages

      Oh, and also, the cheeseslut in me wishes the cheeseslut in you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!