Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black Bean and Corn Salsa with Jalapenos!

I enjoy a spicy, chunky salsa. Jalapenos are my friend! Toss in a bit of chopped up jalapeno for a little punch, add a bit of cilantro and you have a great dish! The name for the jalapeno pepper comes from Japala in the Mexican state of Vercruz where the pepper was first discovered. Jalapenos are frequently used in Mexican cooking. They add quite a bit of flavor and sometimes a great deal of heat to the dish!

In 1912 Wilbur Scoville, a chemist, developed a heat index for chiles, which is the industry standard for measuring a pepper's pain to your palette. His method used human tasters (a panel of five) to evaluate how many parts of sugar water it takes to neutralize the heat. He then developed a table showing how much capsaicin is contained in each variety. Can you imagine having that job!? I would think one's palette would be destroyed after a few trials!

The scale is really quite helpful in determining how much heat you really want to add to a dish. For instance, green bell peppers have a value of zero Scoville units, whereas habaneros start around 150,000. (I happen to like the habanero also!) The scale is also subjective given that it was developed based upon human perception, which can vary.

The chart below summarizes the much more detailed original chart developed by Scoville.

Scoville Chile Heat Chart



Heat Level
Sweet Bells; Sweet Banana; and Pimento
Negligible Scoville Units
Mexi-Bells; Cherry; New Mexica; New Mexico; Anaheim; Big Jim
100-1,000 Scoville Units
Ancho; Pasilla; Espanola; Anaheim
1,000 - 1,500 Scoville Units
Sandia; Cascabel
1,500 - 2,500 Scoville Units
Jalapeno; Mirasol; Chipotle; Poblano
2,500 - 5,000 Scoville Units
Yellow Wax; Serrano
5,000 - 15,000 Scoville Units
Chile De Arbol
15,000 - 30,000 Scoville Units
Aji; Cayenne; Tabasco; Piquin
30,000 - 50,000 Scoville Units
Santaka; Chiltecpin; Thai
50,000 - 100,000 Scoville Units
Habanero; Scotch Bonnet
100,000 - 350,000 Scoville Units
Red Savina Habanero; Indian Tezpur
350-855,000 Scoville Units

Most people think of the jalapeno as being very hot, but it actually varies from mild to hot depending on how it is grown, when it is picked, and how it is prepared. The heat is concentrated in the seeds and the veins, so removing those parts will make the dish more mild.

When selecting a Jalapeno pepper look for one that is firm, has a fresh green color, and smooth skin. A quick way to help you decide which jalapeno has the heat is to study the skin. Jalapeño chilies progressively get hotter the older they get, eventually turning bright red. As they age, they develop white lines and flecks, running the length of the pepper. The smoother the pepper, the younger, and milder it is. The more white lines, the older and hotter.

There are a few older jalapenos in this dish!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa with Jalapenos

2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) corn
2-3 firm tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced
1 cup fresh cilantro, minced
2-4 jalapenos, seeded, deveined, and diced
1/2 small white onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
fresh ground pepper
2-3 avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced

Combine the beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, onion, and lime juice in a serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill. Before serving, toss in avocados. Serve with blue corn tortilla chips if you can find them. Regular work fine, also!


This is a great starter or addition to a meal.
It's a real "guy pleaser"!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Leftover Turkey - Turkey and Biscuit "Pie"?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the menu...yes, I already said that in an earlier post. The menu extends for days, actually. I love the leftover turkey menus also!

How about a pot pie but with biscuits? I have made Ina Garten's recipe for Stewed Chicken and Biscuits over the years and the Kitchen Gnome loved it. When I suggested that instead of a Turkey Pot Pie I just make it with biscuits he was agreeable as long as I used "those little onions" that were in the chicken dish. Okay, I could use "those little onions".

Turkey and Biscuit "Pie"
adapted from Ina Garten's Chicken Stew with Biscuits


5 cups leftover turkey
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
2 chicken bouillon cubes
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (about 2 onions)
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups medium-diced carrots (4 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes
1 10-ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
1 tsp thyme
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley


2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, heat the turkey stock and wine and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot turkey stock and wine to the sauce.

Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp thyme, and the heavy cream. Add the turkey, carrots, peas, onions, and parsley. Mix well. Place the mixture in a 10 x 13 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for 15 minutes. (You definitely need the cookie sheet lined with parchment!)

While the filling bakes, make the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add the half-and-half and combine. Mix in the parsley.
Roll dough out on a well-floured board to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out twelve circles with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter.
Remove the filling from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top. Brush them with egg wash, and return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.

Note: To make in advance, refrigerate the turkey filling and biscuits separately. Bake the filling for 25 minutes, then place the biscuits on top, and bake for another 30 minutes, until done.


I would like some more, please!

Thanksgiving, turkey, leftovers, comfort food...wonderful!
This is delicious! If you have an abundance of turkey and are looking for an idea...this is it!

I am submitting Thanksgiving Leftovers for Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Designs by Gollum! Stop by to see all of the wonderful dishes that the bloggers are still cooking...even after Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Company Pot Roast

As we get deeper into fall, the temperatures continue to slip downward. When that happens, there is nothing better than the comfort foods that remind us all of warm, comfy evenings curled up by a fire or just curled up with a good book!!

Even though it is Thanksgiving tomorrow, Barefoot Bloggers all will be publishing their experiences with Ina Garten's Company Pot Roast. Like most of you, I have three of four different pot roast recipes. They all bring a different palate of flavors yet they are all prepared using basically the same process. Tomorrow's recipe, which I am posting today, comes from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics.

This was a delicious recipe! I had never tried it before because I have so many other "favorites" but one can never have too many pot roast recipes, can one? What appealed to me in this recipe were the leeks and Cognac. None of the other recipes that I have use leeks. I love the mild flavor that they bring to a dish. Cognac was a different ingredient for pot roast also. This was an all around great pot roast that I would make again without thinking twice!

Company Pot Roast

1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied (mine was not tied)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour
Good olive oil
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 branches fresh thyme
2 branches fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.
Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.


This recipe was selected by Barefoot Blogger Lisa at Lime in the Coconut. Stop by her blog and take a look at all of the great recipes that she has shared!

If you enjoy Ina Garten's many recipes you may wish to join the Barefoot Bloggers as we prepare wonderful dishes from each of her cookbooks!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving and Char-Broiled Turkey!

My sister-in-law and I decided to take Thanksgiving to Grandma's house this year. We thought she might like to have the festivities at her home. She hasn't been well and traveling is out of the question. We spent time planning last week and did a good job of minimizing the menu. There will be a small group this year and we decided to keep it simple and keep it basic!

The turkey will be on the barbecue. We have barbecued a turkey this way every year for about fifteen years. I usually have one in the oven and one on the grill! The Kitchen Gnome does a fantastic job! Barbecued turkey never tasted so good. It is succulent, flavorful, and the aroma is wonderful! If you have never prepared a turkey on the barbecue, do, it is simple and well worth the adventure.

Char-Broiled Turkey

Cooking Time: 25 minutes per pound
Method: Grill, low fire

12-14 lb turkey, thawed, cleaned, rinsed
salt and pepper
vegetable oil
1 large onion, cut in large cubes
2 stalks celery, cut in 2" chunks
1 large orange, cut in eighths
1 large apple, cut in eighths
4-5 sprigs parsley
5-6 sprigs thyme
Plus dried herbs to sprinkle on the outside of the bird, if desired.
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1-1/2 sticks butter
1 lemon, thinly sliced or 4 Tbsp lemon juice
Mesquite chips (optional)
Cheesecloth (optional)

Preheat grill to medium. Wash and rinse turkey, remove giblets. Pat dry. Bend wings back behind turkey. Season inside of turkey with salt and pepper.

Stuff with onions, celery, orange, apple, and herbs (your choice). Completely fill cavity (this gives moisture to the turkey). Cover openings of turkey with excess skin. Rub outside of bird with oil. Sprinkle with herbs, if desired.

Melt butter and pour into a large aluminum foil pan. Add turkey, water, broth and lemon slices or juice.

Place on grill and turn heat to low. Add mesquite chips. Baste with butter, cover top with cheesecloth and baste again. Cook about 25 minutes per pound, basting every 1/2 hour until done. Add wood chips as needed.

If using a gas grill, set the temperature at 350 degrees.


We had a "practice run" last week. I wanted to try out a few recipes which meant I just had to have a turkey! So the Kitchen Gnome got to do the entire turkey by himself, since I was a work! He did a great job for his first solo attempt! (I quickly snapped a picture when I got home.)

Cathy's Treasured Cranberry Tangerine Chutney

My very favorite menu of the year is the traditional Thanksgiving menu. I love planning for Thanksgiving, searching for recipes, determining the timetable, deciding on the tablescape, which is always the most challenging for me, and preparing the wonderful savory foods that are served.

Each year, like clockwork, I pull out the November issues of every magazine that I have saved along with a few favorite cookbooks. This year, I also have a pile of printed recipes from all of you in "blogland"! What a "library" to review!

I have always prepared a variety of cranberry sauces, compotes or chutneys to accompany the meal. This year I was intrigued by the recipe that Cathy at Wives with Knives posted. She was kind of enough to share a treasured family favorite. We all know that those recipes, that have withstood time and have not been replaced by "another favorite", have to be the absolute best! Cathy mentions that it is one of her most treasured from her mom's file of recipes. I can certainly see why!! This recipe rocks! It is over the top! In one taste it made it to the top of my list! Thank you, Cathy, for being so kind as to share a family recipe treasure!

Every ingredient listed was one that I enjoy....I could only image how the flavors must meld to be something fantastic! Take a look at the vibrant colors!

Cranberry Tangerine Chutney
Shared with permission from Cathy @

3 cups fresh cranberries
1 large tart apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3 Tbsp candied ginger, chopped
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp curry powder (don't's an important ingredient!)
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 cans mandarin orange slices, drained

Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. This keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator and will easily form a seal if poured, very hot, into small decorative jelly jars.


Making this chutney was a pleasure...not only are the ingredients wonderful, it is like working with an artist's palette...the colors are amazing as they build. When you are finished, heavenly, this dish is heavenly to taste!

This chutney was tagged fabulous by everybody who tasted it!
I am making it again this week!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kitchen Reveal

When the Kitchen Gnome and I first got married we had a very small kitchen. There was no counter space, few cabinets, no dishwasher and a very old, old gas range. The house that I was raised in didn't have counter space either...I thought that was the way things naive.

Why wasn't I thinking? June Cleaver had a pristine kitchen where she prepared elaborate meals everyday and there were always cookies or cake, milk and fruit when the Beaver came home from school. She must have had space to do all of that food preparation!

Why, Margaret Anderson had coffee and sweet rolls ready every morning for her "family." She always has on two or three strands of pearls... her hair is never out of place..even at breakfast! How did she do it?

And, Donna Stone was never without an apron and oven mitt preparing meals for her husband, Alex, and children, Jeff and Mary. They must have had counter space to do all of that cooking!

My next house had cupboard space! Hurray. I had a place to put everything...or so I thought. The counter space for prepping food was more than the first house but still not a lot of space to spread out! I never knew where to set the cookie sheets when I tried to bake. Our gourmet group had just started and food prep space was quite limited when there were up to four cooks in the kitchen at one time! Still, I was able to prepare holiday meals for 30 people so it wasn't too bad...I must be having a memory required my commandeering ovens throughout the neighborhood!

So why am I telling you all of this....because, Penny at Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen is hosting a "Kitchen Reveal" day. Wonderful cooks do unbelievable things in their kitchens. What do those kitchens look like? How has one's kitchen changed over the years? What do you recall of a past kitchen that you had to "let go" in the kitchen you now have? What fond memories do you have a past kitchen? Penny thought it would be fun to share. She has a wonderful blog that is packed with delicious recipes. I hope you will stop by and cruise through her blog. (Take a look at the kitchens.) I know that you will find it fun.

To continue the story, when we had the opportunity to build our next house, I knew that attention was going to be given to the kitchen. We selected the house we wanted to build but the kitchen was basically non-existent. It had few cupboards and you guessed it, no prep space. How could that be, in a new home? The builder told me that the kitchen was for somebody who didn't cook...well, that made me take pause. Who doesn't cook? After much discussion, the kitchen was re-worked to have the space that I wanted.

What I want to share with you today is my kitchen island. The island was my answer to prep space! It is 9 1/2 feet long. The step in the bar comes in so handy. It shields from view the preparation that is occurring. It provides a place to put cookie sheets or other large items that need to be ready and within reach, but not in the way. Counting the island there can now be five prep stations in the kitchen.

The microwave is set in the island along with numerous cupboards and there is a wine cooler at the end of the island. There are two bar stools opposite the prep area. Flanking each end of the bar is a bookshelf that is home to numerous cookbooks and teapots. (Somewhere along the way I accumulated quite a few teapots! I think it is now called a collection!)

Gatherings of family and friends always center in the kitchen. It has been so much fun cooking in this kitchen...I find that I cook much more often!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Herb-Roasted Pork Loin

The Clap-O-Meter went wild tonight!
Dinner was over the top!
Comfort food at its best!

What is a Clap-O-Meter? A Clap-O-Meter is a device for measuring and monitoring the duration and volume of applause. I first saw it on Queen for a Day, a program popular in the late 50's. Three women would each tell their tragic tale then the audience would select the winner by applause, which was measured by the Clap-O-Meter. The crown and velvet robe were placed on the winner and she won prizes! (...usually a washer and dryer!)

What is comfort food? Comfort foods are familiar, simple foods that are usually home-cooked or eaten at informal restaurants. They are foods that are often emotionally significant to a person and are usually related to pleasant associations of childhood. Comfort food then, can mean something different for everyone. The common denominator is our childhood and our mood, foods that are warm, soft, flavorful and usually high in carbs!

I found a 4 1/2 pound pork loin in the freezer and decided today was the day. It was cool outside and there isn't anything like the warmth of the oven, wonderful aromas wafting through the house and the "comfort" of roast, mashed potatoes, gravy....yum! Sunday dinner at its best!

The Kitchen Gnome suggested that we stuff the loin so I started out looking for a recipe that I could stuff with fruit and herbs. While on the quest I paged through the April 2009 issue of Gourmet Magazine and found the recipe for Herb-Roasted Pork Loin. The recipe also appeared on Epicurious here. The one nice thing about also finding the recipe on the web is that there were reviews. There wasn't one disaster story in the bunch! Since I had everything that was needed and wouldn't have to drive to the store, it was a go!

I did have to make some adjustments along the way. I didn't have a heavy roasting pan so I used my Le Creuset Baking Dish. I think the high sides kept the oven from being splattered too badly. It probably took about 20 minutes longer to cook, also. Since I didn't have a rack that would fit in the baking dish, I didn't use one.

I didn't have any fresh sage or summer savory so I used dried. Everything else was just the same....except for the picture with the herbs on top pre-maturely. I removed them, popped the roast in the oven and then replaced them on top of the roast after one hour as indicated.

Herb-Roasted Pork Loin

For pork:
1 (4-to 4 1/2-pound) boneless pork loin roast, trimmed
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
6 rosemary sprigs, divided
8 large thyme sprigs, divided
8 sage sprigs, divided
8 savory sprigs (optional), divided
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (4 to 5)
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

For sauce:

1/3 cup dry vermouth
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Roast pork:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Pat pork dry and season with 1 3/4 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Straddle a flameproof roasting pan over 2 burners, then heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown pork on all sides, then transfer to a large plate.
Put a metal rack in pan and arrange half of herbs down middle of rack. Stir together shallots, garlic, mustard, and 1 tablespoon oil and smear over top and sides of roast, then put roast, fat side up, on top of herbs. Roast 1 hour. Toss remaining herbs with remaining teaspoon oil and arrange on top of roast.
Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer registers 140 to 145°F, 5 to 15 minutes more (temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees as it rests). Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 15 to 25 minutes.
Make sauce while pork rests:
Remove rack from pan and discard herbs from rack. Straddle pan across 2 burners on medium heat. Add vermouth and mustard and deglaze by boiling, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until reduced by half. Add broth and simmer 3 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a 2-cup measure. If you have more than 1 1/2 cups, boil to reduce; if less, add water.
Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking, until pale golden, about 3 minutes. Whisk in vermouth mixture and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Serve pork with sauce.

The Kitchen Gnome totally enjoyed this meal. It is true comfort...warm, soft, flavorful, high in carbs? Not too bad...the comfort made up for it!

All that was left was a forkful of rosemary!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bacon-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola Mushroom Sauce and Roasted Baby Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs

When I first started blogging, I posted a recipe from the Cahoot's Cookbook that my sister-in-law had given me. It was a yummy potato salad recipe that called for tarragon. With the tarragon under control it was quite tasty! I didn't hold the cookbook at fault for "too much tarragon". I should have been smart enough to think about what I was doing!

Since I didn't blame the cookbook, I have thumbed through the book many times. I enjoy reading cookbooks and this one has great photographs, too. I salivate when I look at one particular recipe toward the back of the book....Bacon-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola Mushroom Sauce. Whoa...I knew this had to be good. Beef tenderloin, check. Gorgonzola, check. Mushrooms, check. I am lovin' it. Three items on my Foods That I love List! Once I had my salivary glands under control I gazed at the picture and knew it was meant for me!

This recipe has "make me special" written all over it.

We decided to eat outside that evening. It wasn't overly warm, there was a bit of breeze, the candles flickered, the stars twinkled above....I saw a falling star, the wine was superb!! What could be more special?!

Bacon-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola

For the Gorgonzola Mushroom Sauce
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups green onions, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 cups Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

For the Beef
8, 5 oz center-cut beef tenderloins
8 slices good quality bacon
Your favorite rub or seasoning.

Serves 8

Melt butter over medium heat in small saute pan.

Add onion and mushrooms and saute until soft and tender, about 3 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted.

Prepare a gas or charcoal fire or grill pan.

Wrap a piece of bacon around each filet and secure with a toothpick. Season each filet with your favorite rub or other favorite seasoning.

Grill filets over medium-high heat, turning twice, until done, approximately 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 140 degrees F. for medium rare. Allow meat to rest 10 minutes. Remove picks beforee serving.

Serve with Gorgonzola Mushroom sauce.


Along with the Bacon-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola, I served crab legs, and Roasted Baby Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs.

Roasted Baby Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs

1 pound baby potatoes (try to get the same size or cut larger potatoes in half)
2 Tbsp olive oil
about 1/2 tsp each of salt and fresh ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp mixed fresh herbs such as, parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives, or oregano

Serves 4-6

Preheat overn to 450 degrees F.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a stockpot. Add the potatoes and boil for 8 minutes.

Drain potatoes and place on a baking sheet. Add olive oil and slat and pepper and toss well to coat.

Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees F. Remove from the oven and ad garlic and hervs. Mix well. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes until crispy and golden brown.


The preparation method for these potatoes took a few minutes longer but was so worth the time. It is simple, flavorful and was a great match for the beef and crab!

I am participating in Foodie Friday hosted at Designs by Gollum. Stop by and take a look at all of the fantastic dishes being prepared today.

Creme Brulee

Why oh why have I always shied away from making Creme Brulee? I have always been intimidated by this dessert. Maybe it is because you have to use a torch. Maybe it is because there is a water bath. May it is because the name was in French and I wasn't certain how to pronounce it? Nah, those ideas don't make sense. Well, whatever
the reason, I bit the bullet and made it!

Suzie at Munch+Nibble selected one of this month's recipes for the Barefoot Bloggers. Today we are posting about Ina Garten's Creme Brulee recipe! It can be found in her cookbook, Barefoot in Paris Easy French Food You Can Make at Home. Or it can be food on the Food Network, here. I read through the reviews after I made the dessert! I was so frustrated with one of the cake recipes, that we made a month ago, when I read the reviews first. It wasn't going to happen again.

Yep, you do miss out on some good ideas, like add a vanilla bean to the custard and strain before pouring. Even without those two hints, this dessert was wonderful. It was hard to wait until until dinner to eat it!

This was quite simple and quick to make. I was surprised at how easy it was and kept asking myself why I had never done it before....I will never figure it out, I guess.

Creme Brulee

Serves 5 to 6

1 extra-large egg
4 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for each serving
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 cup of the sugar together on low speed until just combined. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it's very hot to the touch but not boiled. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream to the eggs. Add the vanilla and orange liqueur and pour into 6 to 8-ounce ramekins until almost full.
Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.
To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.

Barefoot Bloggers are a group of cooks and bakers who enjoy Ina Garten and her recipes. As a group, Ina Garten's (The Barefoot Contessa) recipes are tested and retested. On the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month the Barefoot Bloggers post about their experiences preparing the recipes selected.